Parables of the Lost: a final reflection

It is no hyperbole to say that this parable is a gem; all of its facets deserve to be considered. It is no simple simile with a single point but a compressed slice of life with complexity and texture. In the following paragraphs, we will take note of various of the parable’s facets, but in preaching the interpreter should probably avoid such a “shotgun” approach and develop only one or two themes for emphasis. Let the parable be one of those beloved texts that always repays a return visit. Continue reading

The Prodigal Son – part 4

The Episode Between the Father and the Older Son Who Stayed at Home.

This is a post that continues the thought in an earlier post today about our Sunday gospel focusing on the parable of the Prodigal Son. At this point, the younger son has returned home from his misadventures and prodigal lifestyle and has been welcomed by the father. Continue reading

The Prodigal Son – part 3

The Beginning of the Return

This coming weekend is the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we started our look into the the longer, more detailed parable of the Prodigal Son.

17 Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.  The conversion begins in the muck and mud of the pigpen. It is there that he “came to himself.” While there is ambiguity in the moment, the trajectory of the story points to the moment of coming to point of desire to return home – the place where he has a place to be whom God calls him to be.  The moment shows the human capacity to renounce foolishness, to begin anew to reclaim one’s heritage and potential. Calamity finally brings him to his senses. He understands that he has no claim on his father and no right to be called son.  But if not a son, then he will return to his home as a hired servant. He carefully rehearses his speech: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”

He is not seeking to reclaim what he has renounced. Yet he knows that he, in any condition or circumstance, returns to the Father and his father. It is a classic penitential moment: address, confession, contrition, and a petition of healing. After “coming to himself,” he rises and returns to his father. At this point in the narrative the focus shifts to his father Continue reading

The Prodigal Son – part 2

The Departure of the Younger Son. This is a post that continues the thought in an earlier post today about our Sunday gospel specifically considering the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Earlier today we began our look into the details of the parable of the Prodigal Son. This post continues our look. The parable begins with the younger son asking for what he considers his share of the inheritance – something that is for the father to decide. In the asking, the son communicates that he does not view the inheritance as a gift given because of his father’s good graces; rather he sees it as his due. Continue reading

The Lost Coin

This coming weekend is the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s posts we consider the parable of the Lost Sheep in the context of the recurring Lucan theme of “Celebrating the Lost and Now Found.”

8 “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? 9 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.’ 10 In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 

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. 

Continue reading

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

Commonality among the parables

This is a post that continues the thought in an earlier post today about our Sunday gospel on the parables of the Lost.

The gospel text of Luke 15 immediately follows the section highlighting the reversals in the Reign of God (13:10-14:35).  Luke presents three parables that have a common theme: the joy of finding what was lost or recovering one who was estranged (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son). These parables follow easily upon the extended section on the reversals of the kingdom because they respond to the Pharisees’ grumbling over Jesus’ practice of eating with outcasts. Continue reading

The Parables of Luke 15

This coming weekend is the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time in Lectionary Cycle C during which we take the majority of our gospels from the Gospel of Luke. This coming weekend the gospel has a “long” option and a “short” option. Both readings are taken from Luke 15 which contains the well-known parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. The longer option includes all three parables. The shorter option considers only the Prodigal Son. This is my way of giving you a “heads up” that the posts this week will be on the longish side. Continue reading