In what Paul writes to the Corinthians - as in the rest of the New Testament, incidentally - it is never (not once!) stated that God is reconciled to us. On the contrary, Paul always says that we are the ones in need of reconciliation
and that God is the one doing the reconciliation in us. He reconciles us to himself. God does not need to be reconciled, never having as it were ‘turned his back’ on us. It is rather we who, by sinning, have turned our backs on God. Reconciliation, therefore, will consist in introducing a change in us, not in God. It consist in con-verting (that is, turning towards) our hearts to God. Hence we can understand Paul’s pressing exhortation: ‘Let yourselves be
reconciled to God!’ (2 Cor 5:20)
The same idea is powerfully expressed in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which we have just heard. After
the foolish prodigal has squandered all his inheritance, why did he decide to return home? Because he was sorry for his behavior? Not at all. It was because he was hungry and knew that his father’s employees were well fed. So he
hoped to be hired as one of them. In his entire reasoning he never considered how grievously he had pained his father. The thought never crossed his mind that his father could perhaps be hoping for his return. Not once does the story suggest that he had a change of heart.
But the father had, in fact, been waiting for him, anxiously watching the highway on which he knew his son
would have to travel, scrutinizing the horizon in search of the familiar silhouette. Which explains how it happened, as the story specifies, that he was able to catch sight of the lad ‘while he was still a long way off.’ Did the father, when this happened, wait for his son to reach him? No, he ran to his son. Forgetting his age and the oriental rules of deportment for a rich personage like him, he ran out to meet his son. Did he scold him then or wait for at least a gesture of apology? No, he threw his arms around his son’s neck and kissed him again and again. And when the lad began his prepared job-hunting little speech, he interrupted him and ordered the servants to reinstate him in his former position as beloved son. The father was not interested in his son’s motives for returning. His forgiveness had nothing legal about it, it was pure affection. He did not need to be reconciled to his son, for he had never stopped
loving his son with a perfect love. Only the son needed to be reconciled to his father.
365 Days With the Lord Nil Guillemette SJ