Saturday of the Second week of Lent
“We had to celebrate… This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life.”
The older son said to his father in anger: “I constantly obeyed your orders, without disobeying a single one… and the prodigal one comes back to you, and you make more of him than of me!”
The father had only just heard his son speak in this way, when he gently answered: “Listen to your father. You are with me, for you never distanced yourself from me; you did not separate yourself from the Church; you are always present at my side together with all my angels. But this one has come covered with shame, naked and with no beauty, crying: “Have mercy on me! I have sinned, Father, and as one who is guilty, I implore you. Accept me as a day laborer and feed me, for you love human beings, Lord and master of the ages.”
“Your brother cried out: ‘Save me, holy Father!’… How could I not have mercy, not save my son who was moaning and sobbing? … Judge me, you who blame me… At all times, it is my joy to love human beings… They are my creatures: how could I not have mercy on them? How could I not have compassion when they repent? My entrails have brought forth this child on whom I had mercy, I who am the Lord and master of the ages.
“Everything I have is yours, my son… The fortune you have has not been diminished by this, for I don’t take away from it when I give your brother gifts… I am the one and only creator of both of you, the one and only father who is good, loving and merciful. I honor you, my son, for you have always loved and served me. And on him I have compassion, for he is surrendering entirely to his repentance. So you should share the joy of all whom I have invited, I, the Lord and master of the ages.
“Thus, my son, rejoice with all who have been invited to the banquet, and mingle your songs with those of all the angels, for your brother was lost and now he has been found again, he was dead and contrary to all expectations, he has risen.” The older son let himself be persuaded by these words, and he sang: “Everyone, cry out with joy! ‘Happy is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered.’ (Ps 32:1) I praise you, o friend of humankind, you who also saved my brother, you, the Lord and master of the ages.”
Saint Romanos Melodios