Sunday C – God’s Prodigality     

Jesus has been taken to task by the scribes and Pharisees for eating with sinners. He doesn’t argue with them; he tells them stories instead. He told one about a loving father who dealt graciously with his two sons. The parable is also a metaphor about God and us, and shows that God is too busy rejoicing over his lost and found children to worry about what they did while they were lost. Are we aware of God’s constant and never ending rejoicing over us?

The younger son returned home feeling guilty for what he had done, while the elder felt he should have been rewarded for his good and loyal behaviour. The younger abandoned the family, fell in with the wrong crowd and got a lavish party on his return. The other stayed home, honoured his father (and mother) and performed his filial duties to the family, and got nothing. So he was angry about the party being given to his wastrel brother. Neither realised their father’s love was their real inheritance. Do we recognise our real inheritance?

Love, making someone happy, is its own reward. The father reaped the reward of his love for the younger one who eventually discovered that true happiness lay in the enjoyment of his father’s love. “Happiness is tied up with gratitude and springs from an increasingly acute sense of not deserving the good things given us, yet seeing them poured out upon us nonetheless. If we enter the sweet logic of gratuity and make a generous response, a kind of ‘blessedness’ becomes ours” – Erik Varden OCSO, Entering the Twofold Mystery, 148.

Sidney Carter in his Lord of the Dance offers a picture of God for our prayer. “I danced in the morning when the world was begun. I danced on the moon, the stars and the sun. I came down from heaven and I danced on earth…. ‘Dance, dance wherever you may be. I lead you all in the dance,’ said he.”  And wouldn’t that remind you of St. Julian of Norwich’s noble image of God “sitting in heaven, smiling, completely relaxed, his face looking like a marvellous symphony’.  Shades, surely, of the prodigal party that is God’s love.

Fr. QQ – 09/09/2022

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