Who is a true son/daughter of the Father? The one who ultimately does the Father’s will. In our gospel today, the first son rebels initially against the will of his father, but eventually, changes his mind and accepts his will. The second son initially gives verbal assent to what his father wants, but eventually, he discards it and does what he himself wants to do.
The first son represents those who are initially defiant against God and vigorously assert their independence of Him. Many of us, myself included, have been there at one point in our lives. But at some point, we come to a place of conversion, when we realize that our decisions and choices have been bad ones, and brought us, and others in our lives, a tremendous amount of grief. We turn back to God, have our sins forgiven, and begin to live out a life of faithful obedience to Him.
The second son represents those who, to all intents and purposes, keep a superficial allegiance to God, going to Mass, saying their prayers, following dutifully the Catholic way. But in reality, they are deeply opposed to God’s will, hold onto deep grudges against others, indulge in selfishness and self-indulgence, are harshly judgemental of others who are different from them. From a position of self-righteous Pharisaism, they think they are justified in their attitudes, but in the end they find themselves outside the kingdom of heaven.
Which mentality best fits where you are at?