September 15, 2019: Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Luke 15:1-10
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 one 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.”
This set of beautiful parables was a response to religious leaders’ complaint about Jesus’ table companions. Lots of times where I live people rejoice that they were able to find a piece of paper, a phone number or their car keys. The fast pace of our world and the amount of noise, TV ads, cars honking and revving up, trains and planes, shouts and warnings make it hard to focus on the people and tasks immediately before me. These folks in the parable rejoice because the sheep or coin were treasures. So much time and energy can be lost in the searching process.
In our society, time and silence are precious gifts. It is so easy to say, “I don’t have time.” Interruptions fill our lives, even at age 80 inside convent walls! I notice every day that 12 hours of my day have been spent sleeping, eating, bathing, exercising. These basic necessities take up at least 12 hours! I hunger for more time to think, pray, reflect. And the stark fact remains. It is I, only I alone, who ultimately decides how I spend those hours.
Set aside some time each day this week to think, to pray, to reflect. Put the time on your calendar now, just as you would an appointment with a doctor or lunch with a friend.