Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 15,1-32.
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”
Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Then he said, “A man had two sons,
and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'”
Lost, Seeker and Found
Peace to all my brothers and sisters listening in today
- LOST- The setting of today’s good news is very important because these three parables of Luke come in the context of Jesus responding to criticism that He welcomes sinners and tax collectors and even eats and drinks with them. All three parables therefore speak of being lost. The lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son are really all reflections of ourselves, as we all stray and lose our way from time to time. And like the sheep it is almost never all at once but rather we wander little by little and nibble ourselves lost, meaning like the sheep, none of us choose evil directly but rather, it is usually a gradual decline, we nibble away a little at a time and then look up to see that the flock has moved and then we nibble again to see that it is gone further and finally nibble again only to find ourselves alone and empty and afraid. Like the prodigal son we sometimes need to hit bottom in order to discover we do have somewhere to go, more accurately, someone to go to who will always receive us, in fact who is not only waiting for us to come home but is always searching for us.
- SEEKER – Jesus reveals himself as the good shepherd who always seeks and goes after his sheep. He is like the woman who searches diligently for her precious possession And like the father who waits and waits Until he sees his son and then runs after him. Jesus never gives up and is relentless in his search. Even if we feel 1000 miles away from God if we take one step, Jesus will run the other 999 miles. In this way we can see God’s merciful love is prodigal the word for wasteful in the sense it is extravagant, excessive and exorbitant. 2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer.
- FOUND – The image of the pallium worn by Bishop’s is made out of sheep’s wool in order to remind them of their mission to go out and find the lost ones and carry them back on their shoulders. It emphasizes the church is not a club for Saints but school for sinners. Pope Francis insists we evangelize by welcoming the sinner, not judging them but always mercifully loving the sinner, while hating the sin. We all stray and can get lost but Jesus is always searching to find us and when he does he rejoices like the shepherd and a woman and most of all the image of the father who kills the fatted calf, puts a ring on his finger and throws a huge feast because his son was dead and is now alive. The parables emphasize the joy God has in finding those who are lost. This is our greatest happiness which comes through the conviction that we are loved and searched for and loved for ourselves or rather as Victor Hugo pointed out, loved in spite of ourselves. Let us pray and search for the lost sheep in our life today so that our God may rejoice in their finding.
May God bless you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit amen
Always remember heaven is our goal