|The Return of the Prodigal Son,|
Pompeo Batoni (1773)
The prodigal son...represents those who are aware of the existence in their inmost hearts of a longing for reconciliation at all levels and without reserve. They realize with an inner certainty that this reconciliation is possible only if it derives from a first and fundamental reconciliation--the one which brings a person back from distant separation to filial friendship with God, whose infinite mercy is clearly known.
But if the parable is read from the point of view of the other son, it portrays the situation of the human family, divided by forms of selfishness. It throws light on the difficulty involved in satisfying the desire and longing for one reconciled and united family. It therefore reminds us of the need for a profound transformation of hearts through the rediscovery of the Father's mercy and through victory over misunderstanding and over hostility among brothers and sisters.
--Blessed John Paul II