What a Father!
What father would respond like that to the kind of behavior of those two sons described in the parable? To the kid who insolently says, "I will not" to his father's command (v. 29), he just walks away and turns to the other son. And to the son who fails to keep his word, the father does not appear to do anything to punish him either.
Only our Heavenly Father has that kind of loving patience to us, his disobedient, insolent, and unfaithful children. In fact, He has more than enough patience to wait for us to turn back to Him and do the right thing. He does not even force on us what is good for us.
We often find ourselves behaving as one, or both, of the sons. We all have said no to God at one time or another in our lives. Or we say yes, and then fail to do what we have promised. We can be both tax collectors and prostitutes, and chief priests and elders of this parable. The ideal is to both say yes and willingly do what God asks of us.
We know the ideal that we are supposed to live by. Yet, we find ourselves living nowhere near that ideal. That is where God's mercy and love enters. God is always there, waiting for us to freely come to Him and enjoy the happiness that He alone can give us.
 This reflection is from Kyle Zinno, a Salesian seminarian currently living in Orange, NJ.
 Barclay, William. And Jesus Said. Philadelphia, Westminster, 1970; p. 203.