The Responsorial Psalm gives us courage to convert to God with our whole heart: "The Lord is kind and merciful" (Psalm 103).
Micah 7: 14-20 tells us God will "cast into the depths of the sea all our sins," and "shepherd" us, guide us to where we can "feed" on truth and grow into the fullness of life. When we turn to God, he doesn't just accept us; he comes out and embraces us, and fills us with blessings that enrich our life.
This is what Jesus tells us in the story of the "prodigal son" (Luke 15: 1-32). The story is actually more about the father than the son, but it does show us very vividly a conversion taking place. And if we study it we can learn some- thing about conversion as such.
The son's conversion does not begin on a very high level; he is simply miserable. But he realizes it. He doesn't just resign himself, pretending that what he has is just about all one can expect out of life. He faces the fact that there is something better, and that he does not have to put up with the misery he experiences. For us, conversion requires an act of faith that "something more" really is offered us.
And he remembers. He thinks back to how things were at home, and he sees his life there in a different light. He begins to appreciate what he had. For us, conversion might involve getting in touch with religious experiences we had as children or later, experiences of God and of relationship with him that may have marked our First Communion or other moments in our life.
He makes a decision, and it is a decision to act. "I shall get up and go.." All true conversions take place in moments of decision, of choice. We are not just filled with light and love as we sit around; or if we are, it has no effect until we make a choice.
The boy's decision was not just to stop some particular action in his life. It was to return to and embrace a whole style of life. He did not know yet that he could enter again into relationship with his father. But this is what he wanted, and when it was offered he accepted it with joy. For us true conversion is always the acceptance of a new or deeper relationship - with the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Church - that will affect everything else in our lifestyle.
Finally, the son expresses his conversion, not only by returning, but by confessing his sins for what they were: a rejection of relationship with his father. The father's response is to restore that relationship amplified.
And this is what he does with us.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Set no limits on the depth and breadth and length and height of the relationship you will cultivate with God