September 15, 2013: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.” (Luke 15:1-10)
Jesus tells three stories (Luke 15:1-32) about people and things that are lost.
The point is: God is looking for us.
After all, our study of the natural world and religion teaches us that God has been creating the universe for a very long time. There was only one particular sperm that made its way into your mother’s womb to form you as you are today. You are valuable to God. God values you even more than your parents value you. If you run away, God will be waiting and looking for you. You can never run far enough away to get away from God.
Jesus talks about the lost sheep and the lost coin.
To get a sense of this, you could think of losing an I-phone or your favorite pet or even a little brother or sister. Children sometimes wander away from home and when they realize they’re lost, it’s way past suppertime. The first thing the child thinks is, “I will be punished.” When the family is reunited there’s great rejoicing because everyone is glad that the child is safe. The child in Jesus’ story behaves very badly. But he knows he’s hurt his father, “comes to his senses” and goes home.
God is like this father who welcomes his son and throws a big party. It’s the best kind of welcome you could ever imagine and the father never says a word about the son’s sin. The grumpy “good son” thinks he’s done everything perfectly and complains to his Dad about “YOUR son.” The father reminds him the younger one is “YOUR BROTHER.” God wants us to treat everyone as family.
Look at Wombat “All is One” on YouTube (www.youtube.com). That one minute video says it all.
But it is not easy to forgive the people you are with every day. Remember you don’t have to do it alone.
God’s life is in you. Ask Jesus to help you.