In The Parable of the Prodigal Son Luke uses the tones of penance and reconciliation to illustrate the morals of repentance and forgiveness. Luke first uses the tone of penance to show that the younger son is sorry for his sinful ways. Luke writes, “ I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of thy hired servants”.

The younger son realizes the error of his dark path and chooses to become a lowly well-fed servant for his father rather than a lowly half-starved servant for another man. Luke also makes clear the tone of penance when he reiterates, “’Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and I am no more worthy to be called thy son’”, after the son first sees his father. Luke illustrates the tone of penance by showing that the younger son was filled with regret for his sinful behavior and that he apologized profusely to his father.

Luke uses the tone of reconciliation in this parable as well. When the father first sees his lost son he is so joyous that he immediately forgives him and tells one of his servants to, “’Bring forth the best robe and put it on him’”. The father also gives his son a ring and shoes and even kills a fatted calf to eat in celebration of his son’s return. Luke shows a father who doesn’t care that his son left and lived a sinful life, he is just happy to have him back and quickly reconciles with him. Ben Bockrath


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