Lostness

The Israelites in the first reading are lost but they don’t know it yet. St. Paul knows he was lost and has been found. Like Moses, St. Paul is preaching to religious insiders. Jesus is preaching to insiders, telling these parables to religious insiders who are pretty sure they’ve got it all down and could never imagine they are lost. Could never imagine that “lost” is not always out there beyond the flock, outside the sheepfold, apart from everyone – world of unbeliever, sinner, backsliders, and all manner of people on the outside. Continue reading

The Lost Sheep

This is a post that continues the thought in an earlier post today about our Sunday gospel on the parables of the Lost and considers the first of the three Lucan parables of Chapter 15.

 4 “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?  5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy 6 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.’ 7 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. 

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The Lost

This coming weekend is the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s posts we laid some groundwork to a better understanding of the parables as we looked at Luke’s use of the verbal pair “lost and found.”  The opening verses of the Sunday readings emphasizes Jesus’ ministry to the “lost” – both those considered lost by the religious leadership, and the “lost” pointing to the covenant people of Israel as a whole. Continue reading

On the edge of left behind

There is a lot going on today, December 7th 2021. The nation remembers Pearl Harbor, the church remembers St. Ambrose, and the Season of Advent continues. As I noted yesterday, since the beginning of Advent this year we have heard from the Prophet Isaiah. The verses have all been brimming with Hope. Today is no exception. I noted that in all times, especially so in troubling times, there are some among us who lead with Hope. Some among us have retreated into different kinds of shells, keeping the world at bay, keeping Hope at a distance. Continue reading

Invited

In this day and age, we receive all manner of evites: to meetings, parties, events and more. Upon receiving the evite are we excited? Were we just hoping for a day or evening off? Does this seem more obligation than interesting? Do we have to rearrange schedules? Are hoping something more exciting comes along? We have choices – delete, never open, don’t answer, answer with regrets, or accept. And then come all the consequences of all those choices we make, intended or no. Does all this seem like a phenomenon of the internet age? Not really. It is as old as time and part of the gospel. Continue reading

What we’ve lost

I AM the Good Shepherd3The parable of the Lost Sheep is the gospel message on the 15th anniversary of 9-11, a terrible day of death and destruction. A day on which no one thinks about winners and losers. A day in which we mourn and honor our dead. A day we Franciscans remember our brother Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM – a NYC fire chaplain who lost his life in the line of duty when the first tower fell. Mychal went out searching for the lost, to bring them home to the safety of the flock. Fr. Mychal Judge, truly a good shepherd. Truly a hero – not because he died on 9-11, but because his arms were always open, his eyes ever seeking to be Christ for others. Obedient unto death. Continue reading

The Lost: and now found

LostSheep_web1 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, 2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So to them he addressed this parable

The three parables of Luke 15 repeat the themes of the previous chapters as they respond to the Pharisees grumbling over Jesus’ sharing table fellowship with sinner (v.1). The common themes that link the parables internally are evidenced in the repetition of the words “lost” (apóllymi) and “found” (heurískō). The themes of joy and celebration also recur in all three parables – and this is in specific response to repentance. Continue reading

Lost: joy

lost_coin_lost_sheepJoy in heaven and on earth? A present participle generally denotes action that occurs at the same time as the main verb. The main verb in the first conclusion (v. 7) is estai a future = “There will be”. The main verb in the second conclusion (v. 10) is ginetai a present = “There is”. So, when a sinner repents, at that moment there is joy in heaven. Will there be joy on earth, then seems to be Jesus’ question.

It would seem that the ways to keep joy out of heaven are: (a) be so righteous that repentance is unnecessary, or (b) be a sinner and fail to repent. However, I don’t think that Jesus’ main point is about joy in heaven, but joy on earth. The joy in heaven is a given. It is the corresponding joy on earth that can be nearly impossible to obtain. The self-righteous, critical, judgmental attitude of the scribes and Pharisees sought to kill the joy of Jesus’ parties. I guess that when they couldn’t kill the joy of the party, they killed the party-host — which stopped the joy for only a short three days. Then we again see Jesus eating with sinners. The “party” goes on. Continue reading

Lost: sheep and coin

lost_coin_lost_sheepThe Lost Sheep. 4 “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? 5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy 6 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.’ 7 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.

Jesus addresses his listeners directly: “What man among you …?” What he suggests all will do in going after the one lost sheep is actually not what many of us would do, but the attractiveness of this extravagant individual concern makes the listener want to agree. In a split second we are drawn into God’s world, seeing and acting as he would. The description of the shepherd echoes Ezek. 34:11–12, 16: Continue reading

Lost: at table

lost_coin_lost_sheep1 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, 2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So to them he addressed this parable. 4 “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? 5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy 6 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.’ 7 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. Continue reading