God throws a party and invites us to it: A homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year C)

partyWell, our Prodigal Pastor has returned from his golf days in Florida , and with an amazing tan. I have to give up the big comfy chair in the rectory again, but that is okay. It is worth it.

A thousand things could be said about today’s Gospel of the Prodigal Son. But I’ll be brief. The story reminds us that God does two things: He throws a party and he invites us to it. A perfect theme for this Laetare Sunday–Rejoice Sunday.

Consider the younger son. He goes out and throws his money and his life away. He hits rock bottom. He has no place else to go. So he comes back. In that there is an important lesson. Often we don’t know that God is all we need until God is all we have. So he goes back. And the Father goes out of the house to meet him. Then the Father invites him to a party…and gives him everything.

Now consider the older son. He is out on the fields dutifully attending to his tasks. He is tired and sweaty, and when he learns of the party, he is upset and bitter. We are left not knowing if he lets his bitterness go and comes to the party or not, but we do know the Father went out to find him and that he gave him an invitation.

God invites us to parties all the time, and the ultimate party, the ultimate celebration: the Mass, which is a sharing and participation in the Beatific Party of Heaven. We can’t even imagine how much celestial confetti is there.

We who are here–we have taken God up on the party. The ministries and outreaches of this parish–our school, our food pantry, TMIY, CRHP, all you saw in the video and more–exist in order to invite others to the party as well.  God wants to invite the whole world to his party. Life is better in the Church, it is and we know it. There are always parties and dinners and celebrations here at OLG and none of them compare with what’s in heaven. God wants to use our parish to invite the world to his party. So we ask God’s blessings upon our parish pledge weekend. Party on.