Your brother here was dead and has come to life.
All that God looks for from us is the slightest opening and he
forgives a multitude of sins. Let me tell you a parable that
will confirm this.
There were two brothers: they divided their father’s goods between them and one
stayed home, while the other went away to a foreign country, wasted all he had
been given, and then could not bear the shame of his poverty.
Now the reason
I have told you this parable is so that you will understand that even sins committed
after baptism can be forgiven if we face up to them. I do not say this to encourage
indolence but to save you from despair, which harms us worse than indolence.
The son who went away represents those who fall after baptism. This is clear
from the fact that he is called a son, since no one is called a son unless he
is baptized. Also, he lived in his father’s house and took a share of all his
Before baptism no one receives the Father’s goods or enters upon
the inheritance. We can therefore take all this as signifying the state of believers.
Furthermore, the wastrel was the brother of the good man, and no one is a brother
unless he has been born again through the Spirit.
What does he say after falling into the depths of evil? I will return to my
The reason the father let him go and did not prevent his departure
for a foreign land was so that he might learn well by experience what good things
are enjoyed by the one who stays at home.
For when words would not convince us
God often leaves us to learn from the things that happen to us.
When the profligate returned after going to a foreign country and finding out
by experience what a great sin it is to leave the father’s house, the father
did not remember past injuries but welcomed him with open arms.
he was a father and not a judge. And there were dances and festivities and banquets
and the whole house was full of joy and gladness.
Are you asking: “Is this what he gets for his wickedness?”
his wickedness, but for his return home; not for sin, but for repentance; not
for evil, but for being converted.
What is more, when the elder son was angry
at this the father gently won him over, saying: "You were always with me, but
he was lost and has been found; he was dead and has come back to life."
someone who was lost has to be saved,” says the father, “it is not
the time for passing judgment or making minute inquiries, but only for mercy
Repentance, Homily 1, 3-4: PG 49, 282-283)
John Chrysostom (c.347-407)
was born at Antioch and studied under Diodore of Tarsus,
the leader of the Antiochene school of theology. After a
period of great austerity as a hermit, he returned to Antioch
where he was ordained deacon in 381 and priest in 386. From
386 to 397 it was his duty to preach in the principal church
of the city, and his best homilies, which earned him the
title “Chrysostomos” or “the golden-mouthed,” were
preached at this time. In 397 Chrysostom became patriarch
of Constantinople, where his efforts to reform the court,
clergy, and people led to his exile in 404 and finally to
his death from the hardships imposed on him. Chrysostom stressed
the divinity of Christ against the Arians and his full humanity
against the Apollinarians, but he had no speculative bent.
He was above all a pastor of souls, and was one of the most
attractive personalities of the early Church.