Lost and Found

Luke 15: 1-10
Rom 14:7-12 / Psa 27

…in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7)

Be Christ’s helper in His mission
To bring sinners back to His fold;
Preach the good news of contrition,
In this task everyone is called.

The tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:11-10)

Reflection

Our Lord teaches a number of lessons in these two parables about being lost and being found again. He is telling us first of all that every person on earth is precious and beloved in the eyes of God. According to world statistics, the human population has just reached seven billion. God loving all the billions of us is not so mind-boggling if we believe the psalmist that “a thousand years in His eyes are merely a yesterday” (Psa 90:4). Numbers mean nothing to the Creator of the universe. In fact, God loves each one of us so much that according to Jesus, even the number of hairs on our head are known to Him (Mt.10:30). It is not His capacity to love billions that is so mind-boggling, but the intensity of that love that gives His all – in pain, humiliation and death on the cross for the salvation of those who denied, abandoned and persecuted Him.

The second lesson we learn from Jesus in these two parables is: because of His love, God always takes the initiative to seek out the lost, bring them out of the darkness into the light, and even set us high on His shoulders, celebrating because we have been found in our repentance. And yet we feel that even our repentance was by His grace, and His own doing. For wasn’t it He who sought us out, lighted the lamp, and swept our house clean? We only relented and repented because we finally realized that we were lost and we needed Him.

Finally, we also learn that as we have been found and saved, so also must we be seekers of those who need to find the Good News of God’s kingdom. In our first reading today, St. Paul said, “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom 14:7-8). Since we belong to the Lord, then it is incumbent upon us to continue His work of seeking out the lost (those who have not yet found their way to Him), instead of setting ourselves apart from them (like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel). As St. Paul continues, “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Rom 14:10-12). None of us can claim to be righteous. We were all lost, but now we are found.

We thank You, dear God for seeking us out in the darkness of our sins and bringing us back to the light of Your community. May we prove worthy to serve in Your mission. Amen.

Comments are closed.