Mary Gordon’s Rethinking of the Gospels

The novelist and literary critic Mary Gordon loves the story of the prodigal son, for she is a Catholic in her bones. The story, from the Gospels, is of a father’s extravagant love for his proud and dissolute boy, a child so moronic that he spends all his money and lives among swine. Finally returning home, he arrives, dirty and broke, and his father throws him a party. The standard Christian interpretation is that the love of God is like the love of this father for this son: excessive and unconditional.