There was once a Jewish father who had two sons. He loved them both very deeply. One day, his youngest son came to him and said, “Father, give me my share of the property that is due to me.” His father was grieved, but he gave his son what he wanted.
Then he was off to a far distant land, where he squandered his father’s money on wild lavish living. But it wasn’t long before his money ran out – and when his money ran out, so did his friends. And to make things worse – a great famine spread across the land.
The young boy was so hungry he did the thing no self respecting Jew would ever do. He took a job to feed the swine. The pigs had more to eat than he did. No one gave him anything.
Then he began to realize what he had done. “I have been such a fool, I need to go back to my father, and say to him, “I have done wrong.”’
Meanwhile, his father had heard about the famine, and everyday he would go out to the fields to watch for his son. On this particular day he saw someone coming. It was a poor unknown wretch, and he was of no interest to him. But then, there was something about the way he walked that caused him to look again. His heart began to break when he realized it was his son. He abandoned all protocol for an elderly man and ran to him and threw his arms around him, and kept hugging him and kissing him.
His son cried, ‘Father, I have done wrong – I have sinned against Heaven – I have sinned against you. I am not worthy to be called your son, please make me one of your workers.’ His father commanded a feast to be prepared. “This is my son!” he said. “He was dead, and now he is alive. He was lost, and now he is found!” So now you know what repentance is. It is your turn now. Your Heavenly Father is waiting.