It pays to increase your word power. this week’s Gospel is often referred to as the Prodigal Son. For many years, I always assumed that the word “prodigal” meant lost. And although the theme of being lost and then found is at the heart of our gospel this week, it is not the actual definition of the word prodigal. The word prodigal actually means: spending money or resources freely and recklessly; extravagant to the point of wastefulness. It is true that the younger son, who sadly did not recognize the loving relationship that his father had with him, asks for his share of the inheritance and he squanders this inheritance with reckless abandon. From this, we can see that the title of this gospel “The Prodigal Son” is an accurate one. However, I would like to submit to you that the word prodigal also can be rightly applied to the father in the Gospel as well. “Why?” You may ask? Because, when this humbled and contrite son returns home, his father is able to extend forgiveness and mercy to his lost and wayward son to the point of reckless extravagance. Instead of a tongue lashing, the son receives a beautiful robe and sandals. Instead of a stern correction, he receives a glorious ring. And instead of receiving bread and water to eat, he is given a sumptuous feast. This is the same prodigal God that we also have a relationship with, and who also extends His extravagant mercy and love when we come to our senses and return home with contrite hearts and ask for His forgiveness.