An excerpt from Luke 15:11-32, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”
Then the Lord told this parable: “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.
Archimandrite Meletios Weber wrote that in effect each of us is the Prodigal child:
“When we are present before God, we stand as if our potential had already been realized and we were now taking our places in the Kingdom yet to come. Feelings of distance form God mix with feelings of belonging to Him. As we stand in church at the Divine Liturgy, we are simultaneously Adam knocking on the gates of Paradise, and the prodigal son being received back into full communion as a fully accepted member of the family of heaven.” (BREAD & WATER, WINE & OIL, p 92)
In the book ST. SILOUAN THE ATHONITE (p. 348), St. Silouan is quoted as saying about repentance:
“If all men would repent and keep God’s commandments, there would be paradise on earth, for the ‘Kingdom of Heaven is within us.’ … To the man who repents, the Lord grants paradise and the Kingdom eternal with Himself. In His great mercy He remembers not our sins, just as He overlooked the sins of the thief on the cross.”