Gospel Reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time September 11th – Lost and Found
We all know how upsetting and frustrating it is to lose something; car keys or our mobile phone. We search and look for them until we find them and there is a sense of relief and even joy when we find them. We might even go and tell others we have found what we had lost.
The gospel this Sunday puts before us the experience of being lost and found by God. Jesus uses not one but three images to describe for us the lengths God goes to in order find us when we ourselves are lost. The parables also describes how God rejoices when we are found.
The shepherd, the woman and the father all have in common losing, searching, finding and celebrating. Each of them had lost something that was precious to them and how happy they were when they had found it!
In the gospel, Jesus is in the company of those he feels happiest with; the tax collectors and sinners. But typically the self-righteous Pharisees lodge their formal complaint, ‘look this man even eats with sinners.’ While they complain, the sinners are happy to sit and enjoy the company of Jesus. Jesus takes this opportunity to tell them some stories in which both groups are represented. He shares with them the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the infamous lost son. He presents them with these deeply tender images of God to show that whenever we stray from God’s compassion and love, (being lost), God always searches for us in order to find us, heal us and bring us home. All we have to do is realise and admit that sometimes we do wander off and get lost. We are asked to recognise our need for God, and then begin our journey home where God will rejoice and celebrate. The shepherd, the woman and the father went to great lengths to find what they had lost. They never gave up until they found their most precious belonging. God never gives up on us. God loves each of us personally, passionately and intimately. When we can admit and recognise that we have lost our way, God comes running to find us. Like the father, God sees us coming a way long off, is moved to pity, clasps his arms around us and kisses us tenderly. God rejoices when we return to home to where we belong. In the Old Testament, the Prophet Zephaniah describes God with this powerful image, ‘God is in our midst, he will exult with joy over you’ he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.’ Our God is a dancing, forgiving and compassionate God. May we waste no more time in being lost and hurry home to join in the feast and celebration. Our God is waiting is for us!
- Michael Moore OMI
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