Parables are stories that Jesus told to help people understand how God sees the world. In this week’s parable, the leaders of the temple were angry because they thought that Jesus should not eat with sinners. So he told them two parables—one about a shepherd finding a lost sheep, the other about a woman finding a lost coin.
How do we meditate on this parable? Should we focus on losing something of great value? or is the true focus on what is done to “find that which was lost”? It makes a great deal of difference in what we will learn (discern) from this parable. I choose to believe the focus on the “finding”, that God will find me whenever I have lost my way. How about you?
The parables remind us that God never forgets us, never abandons us, and welcomes us to return, even when we do something wrong.
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. . . So he [Jesus] told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? . . . “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? . . . Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
From sermon4kids.com: “He [God] keeps searching for us and calling to us. He wants to draw us back into his arms. He even sent Jesus, his Son, to save those who are lost. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t give up on his lost sheep? I am, because “I once was lost, but now I’m found!””
Collect: O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: Where do you experience mutual love in your life? Is there someone you disdain? How might you show love for that person in thought, word, or deed?
Contemporary Parables (aka Movies):
“The Parable of the Lost Sheep” (animated) presented by deluvia; Les Miserables The opening scene is a wonderful picture of redemption and grace as the priest gives Valjean both his freedom and the silver candlesticks; “Ice Age” (2002), “looking out for number one just won’t cut it”
Can you remember a time when you were “lost”—couldn’t find/see your parents; confused about an issue in society; or another way? How about having something become “lost”—like a child you were babysitting; a friend who drifted away from you; or another?
How scared were you? How did you become “found”? Did someone help you? How did it feel when you were “found”? When you lost something, how did you feel?
Finally, try to imagine how it feels to be “found” by God and to be assured that whenever and wherever you may be, God embraces you, keeps you safe, comes to get you if needed.
Sin and the need to repent are central to the liturgy today. In the reading from Luke, Jesus speaks in reply to those who complained that he had table fellowship with sinners. God, he says, cares about each person, seeks out each one, and rejoices as each sinner repents.
In the first reading, Moses at first seems more forgiving than God. When the people rebelled and created their own god to worship, God intended to destroy them all. It was Moses’ entreaty that reminded God of the divine nature and that the people are the fruit of God’s promise to the patriarchs. Moses is the human intermediary who becomes the instrument of God’s forgiveness.
We begin a series of readings from the first letter to Timothy today. Paul is described as the greatest of sinners because he persecuted the faith. However, his life is held up as proof of God’s forgiveness. His having been accepted by God has equipped him to proclaim God’s love to all people. Paul, like Moses brings others into the goodness of God as well.
In our life of pilgrimage into God’s kingdom, Jesus—God among us—is the embodiment of God’s unremitting call to us to come home to our true lover and friend. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit in baptism to share the vocation of Moses and Paul to be mediators and instruments of God’s love and forgiveness to the world.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.