The Sunday of the Prodigal Son is the second Sunday of pre-Lent, the weeks of preparation preceding Great Lent. It is the Sunday after the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and Sunday before Meatfare Sunday. This pre-Lent is the start of the Easter cycle of worship in the Orthodox Church.
On this Sunday in the preparation for Great Lent, Orthodox Christians are read Christ’s parable about God's loving forgiveness (Luke 15:11-24). They are to see themselves as being in a foreign country far from the Father's house and to make the movement of return to God, where we truly belong. The parable gives assurance that the Father will receive them with joy and gladness in their journey through Great Lent, their journey home.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
- I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father;
- And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You had given me.
- Therefore, I cry to You like the Prodigal:
- "I have sinned before You, O compassionate Father;
- Receive me a penitent and make me as one of Your hired servants."