In the story, the father searched all over Spain for Paco, but still he could not find the boy. Finally, in the city of Madrid, in a last desperate attempt to find his son, the father placed an ad in the daily newspaper. The ad read: "PACO, MEET ME AT THE HOTEL MONTANA. NOON TUESDAY. ALL IS FORGIVEN. PAPA."
The father in Hemingway's story prayed that the boy would see the ad; and then maybe, just maybe, he would come to the Hotel Montana. On Tuesday, at noon, the father arrived at the hotel. When he did, he could not believe his eyes.
An entire squadron of police officers had been called out in an attempt to keep order among eight hundred young boys. It turned out that each one of them was named Paco. And each one of them had come to meet his respective father and find forgiveness in front of the Hotel Montana.
Eight hundred boys named Paco had read the ad in the newspaper and had hoped it was for them. Eight hundred Pacos had come to receive the forgiveness they so desperately desired.
This beautiful story illustrates the great truth that Jesus was driving at in His famed Parable of the Prodigal Son. Just as there are many, many Pacos in Hemingway’s story, so there are innumerable prodigals in the world.
In truth, all of us are prodigals. All of us have run away from God. “All of us,” as the Scriptures say, “like sheep, have gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6)
Fortunately, God has not given up on us. Persistently and indefatigably, He searches for us. He never gives up on us. He longs day and night for us to come home. And if and when we do, He is overjoyed. He loves us. He forgives us. He restores us. He fêtes us.
I hope you have come home to the Father. I hope you know the peace and joy that comes with having been forgiven by God. If not, my friend, the Father’s invitation to come home still stands. Even now, He is waiting for you.