Kiev, February 25, 2019
When we move away from God and then realize that we are in sorry state and suffering, then we must return to God with determination, said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine in his homily on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
And prayer and fasting greatly aid us in this return to God, the beloved hierarch preached, with Great Lent just weeks away.
“The prodigal son is the image of a sinner who departs from his father’s house, departs from God, using up all the talents the Lord gave him to receive them for a blessing. But then, broken in soul and body, he understands everything and returns to his father’s house,” His Beatitude said.
The prodigal son shows us that even a sinner can remember God’s mercy and forgiveness and the wealth of His spiritual gifts to us and make the right decision to return to God.
“In this story of the prodigal son, there is a very important decision: When we depart from God, when we realize that thing are bad for us, that we are suffering, then we must return to Him,” Met. Onuphry said.
However, as the Ukrainian primate noted, often we do not get up and move towards God, but the prodigal son shows us an image of determination, “He got up and went.”
As His Beatitude explained, we are all, to some extent, prodigal sons—some farther, some nearer to God. But our return to the Father’s house is accomplished by fasting and prayer—the two wings with which we fly to God, leaving behind all that is sinful. “That is why the holy Church reminds us of the prodigal son before Lent,” Met. Onuphry explained.
And as we see in the parable, the Lord is so merciful that we need take but one step, “and there is already joy and consolation in the soul.” Thus the grace of the Holy Spirit begins to act in us, helping us to move forwards on our path of repentance with joy and peace, His Beatitude preached.
Then the Lord comes out to meet us and returns to us all that we lost by our sin, “and makes us noble, strong, intelligent…”
“May the Lord help us, dear brothers and sisters, during the holy Great Lent to take steps towards Him, to fast, to pray, to cleanse ourselves from sin and to restore within ourselves the Divine harmony that the Lord has given every person. When this harmony is restored, we draw nearer to God, we become like Him, able to contain within ourselves the Divine grace that makes us happy in this life and grants us salvation in the Heaven in Christ Jesus, our Lord,” His Beatitude wished his flock.
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