Jesus takes out his violin and does a “Henny Youngman” impression to strongly convey to us the crazy love that God has for us. I know you’re not supposed to laugh during a gospel reading but there are plenty of opportunities. All the parentheses are laugh tracks.
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.
What! No Mom, Divorced, Deceased?
The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’
There is no share for the youngest since all the property legally goes to the eldest.
So he divided his property between them.
Dad’s first loving mistake, or is it?
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country
Two miles away, just to be safe.
and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
Never defined, but don’t forget this part.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country,
A politican of either stripe.
and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
Pigs! Jewish! Together? (Pause for laughter.) And, he’s still waiting to be waited on.
When he came to his senses,
Hunger has a way of doing that.
he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
It’s only been two days…but still.
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’
“Practice makes perfect.” Practice your speech again and again. Now try it in front of a mirror no matter how unconvincing you are.
So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Dad doesn’t wait for him to complete his contrived speech. Was he truly sorry?
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
Well, okay, he got part of it out, but still.
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf
“And no pig!”
and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Dad ignores hearing about his “wild living” and its unknown details and does what only a Loving God and insightful dad would do.
Here’s the cool part of the story, that I love.
the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
A Donna Summer mix with a bit of Mariah Cariah.
So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in.
These two kids only move when necessary.
So his father went out and pleaded with him.
Dad, again, initiates the contact.
But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
If he, indeed, has any friends!
But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes
Stop reading! “Prostitutes!” Who said anything about the ‘ladies of the night’ in this story? Where’s his mind?
comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
Dad’s thinking, “Yada, yada, yada…you boys sure like to talk about yourselves a lot. Just get it out and let’s move on.”
You dumb turkey.
the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
And so ends one of the greatest stories of God’s limitless wisdom, forgiveness and hope coupled with our foolish and whimsical self-imposed errors. God’s undying love, like a father’s devotion, far outweighs our thoughtless and dopey sins. Cue the rock group, “Queen’s” song, “Crazy Little Called Love.”
Jesus tells us a joke about a a serious matter. The last joke is the title of this parable. “The Prodigal Son” for centuries has been mis-titled. The son is not the subject, he’s a character as we all are in this life’s journey. God is the star and author of this parable. It ought to be rightly titled, “God Crazy Love for All of Us.”
Are we able to laugh all the way to God’s forgiveness and reunion?
Enjoy Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”