Day 18 – Heroic Return




I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."

(Luke 15:18-19)

To face someone whom we have hurt is very difficult. Excuses, emotions, and pride prevent us from mustering up the courage to face that person. In this parable, the initial awakening of the younger son appears to be self-serving in nature. However, regardless of what had caused him to wake up, the most important thing is that his reflection led him to a true repentance. He showed remorse for his sins and wrongdoings. In the end, his repentance was from his heart.

The path from repentance to action is a long one often filled with hurdles. For the younger son, going back to reconcile with his father was not easy at all, especially when he had to face the hurt and damages that he had caused his father and the whole family. This guilt-ridden son could have easily chosen to hide from his past. For someone like him, it might seem easier to start a new life elsewhere away from his shameful past. In that case, the reconciliation with his father and his family would never happen, and healing of the wounds both in him and his family may never occur. That would create a huge void in the hearts of all the people involved causing a huge regret to the whole family down the generations. Some of us may be faced with similar situations, to different extents.

To hide is easy, but it is also selfish. To face our past and be accountable for what we have done takes courage. It is a sign of our faith maturity.

First we need to be aware of the extent of the inflictions we have caused and own the responsibility to heal the wounds and mend the damages. We should not try to find excuses for ourselves, or to accuse others for their wrongdoings. We need to only focus on our own sins instead of the sins of others. Mixing them up clouds our conscience in face of our wrongdoings. Then, with a contrite heart and a sincere and humble attitude, it will be easier for us to muster up the courage to acknowledge our mistakes and to reconcile with those we have hurt.

Acknowledging one’s mistakes is one thing, making up for the harm our sins have caused is another. Like the tax collector Zacchaeus whom Jesus met in Jericho (Luke 19:1-10), who made up his damages by repaying all those from whom he had extorted,

we should also be prepared to embrace the consequences of our sins, and the responsibilities of making up for the damages our sins have inflicted on others.

Most importantly, we should learn from this younger son that our sins do not only offend others, but they also offend God in the first place.

As we prepare ourselves to reconcile with those we have hurt, it is important that we come to reconcile with God the Father. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we reflect and examine our conscience; we repent and confess our sins; we resolve to never commit them again; and we receive special graces and strength from God to do penance and mend the damages we have caused.

So he got up and went back to his father.

(Luke 15:20)


Do you lack the courage to face someone whom you have offended or hurt? What is holding you back?

Are you somehow hiding from your shameful past, believing that your sins and wrongdoings will not be forgiven?

Are you brave enough to face and acknowledge your most shameful and hidden sins in front of God?


Dear Abba Father, in my life there are broken relationships that I cannot face. The fears within me have led me to my hiding place. Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Humble me, Lord, to bear the consequences of my own transgressions. Give me the courage to come back to You, to reconcile with You, and to mend those broken relationships. In Your mercy, Lord, come and restore me. Show me Your steadfast love so that I will never forget Your goodness. (Psalm 25)

I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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