Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Prodigal Pig

December is filled with such events as St. Nicholas Day; St. Lucy's Day; Beethoven's birthday; the winter solstice; Hanukkah; Christmas Eve; Christmas Day; Boxing Day; Kwanzaa; New Year's Eve; 38 of the 43 post-season American football bowl games (the other five will take place in January); the quarter-final, semi-final, and final games of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar; and the presentation in Oslo, in the presence of the king and qieen of Norway, of the Nobel Peace Prize, which has been awarded jointly this year to Belarus human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center For Civil Liberties.

That's a pretty full docket for a single month to have to bear. I'm not going to write about any of those events in this post except to suggest that the prize-receiving trio at the end of the previous paragraph seems rather ironic given the current state of affairs in the world.

I want to tell you instead the story of the Prodigal Pig. I heard J. Vernon McGee tell it on the radio many years ago.

When the Prodigal Son came to himself and decided to leave the pigpen where he had been working in a far-off country after wasting his substance in riotous living and return to his father (full details in the 15th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel), one of the pigs thought the father's house sounded pretty neat and decided to go back with him. When they arrived at the father's house, the son was joyfully received and so was the pig. Both of them received a ring and a robe and new shoes, and both of them sat down to a sumptuous feast after the fatted calf was killed in their honor.

And the Prodigal Pig tried his best to fit in, he really did. But as the days and weeks went by, the Prodigal Pig enjoyed his new surroundings less and less. He didn't like having to bathe so often; he longed to roll in the mud of his old home. He didn't particularly enjoy having to learn to eat roast beef with a knife and fork; he missed rooting in the slop of the pigpen. He resented having to wear clean clothes every day; he wanted to be free to do as he liked. So one day he announced that he was leaving the Prodigal Son's father's house and was going back to the far-off country, where he could once again live the life he longed for. And he did.

J. Vernon McGee ended his story by saying he believed that if a person stands at the crossroads long enough he will find that all the Prodigal Sons will return to their father and all the Prodigal Pigs will return to their father.

It's a sobering thought that explains a lot of things you might have found confusing.


  1. it goes with "give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man"

    1. kylie, I didn't think of it in that way, but yes, early influences do make a lasting impression. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" and so forth. It puts the responsibility squarey on parents to do their job.

  2. I just wonder why The Prodigal Son's people didn't turn The Prodigal Pig into bacon. Perhaps there was a religious reason.


<b> Things that might make you say “Hmm” </b>

A. Customs change at different rates. Sometimes the change happens so slowly that people hardly even notice. Sometimes it happens so su...