Jesus Throws a Party for Us

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father…’”    (Lk. 15:17-18)

Have you ever had to “come back” to yourself?

This phrase comes from the story of the Prodigal Son. He had gone to his father and demanded his inheritance, which he then squandered on “dissolute living.” With nothing left, he hired himself out as a pig farmer, and his diet was pig-food.

But then he “came to himself.” He looked at his life. He saw he had no way forward. He understood the damage he had done. He knew he had to return to his father and apologize. He hoped his father would take him in as a hired hand.

Again, let me ask you: Have you ever had to come back to yourself, back to your values and moral compass, back to God?

This coming back to ourselves can be filled with many feelings. Dread. Shame. Fear. Embarrassment. We wonder how we could have become so lost, so twisted, so unmoored, so separated from who we’re meant to be.

This coming back to ourselves can also bring great relief and joy. We know that whatever we had been doing doesn’t work and that nothing felt right.

I wish I could encourage us by saying that whenever we do come back to ourselves everyone we may have hurt, disappointed, or betrayed, would welcome us home like the father of the Prodigal Son. Some of those people may not want to roast the fatted calf for us.

What I can say to encourage us is that Jesus will always welcome us back when we do. Just like the father in the parable who constantly worried about his son, so Jesus never stops worrying about us. Just like the father threw the feast and put the best clothes on his returned son, so Jesus can’t wait to throw a party and clothe us with His love whenever we return to Him.

So, again: Do we need to come back to ourselves? If so, the party of grace welcomes you.

Reflection Questions:

  1. When have you needed to “come back” to yourself? What were the elements that caused you to get lost and wander away from who you are at your best and most faithful?
  1. If you did a careful inventory of your life and faith right now, do you need to “come back” to yourself or back to God in any way?
  1. No matter who you are, what you have done, or how far you strayed, Jesus will always rejoice when you return to yourself and welcome you to the party of grace. What does that party look like and feel like to you? Is there anyone Jesus would like you to invite to that party?

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