Lost and found LUKE 15:1–32
by Janine Aqui
How extraordinarily comforting and consoling it is, that our Heavenly Father’s mercy stretches above and beyond our fall from grace. His ‘hand’ always within reaching distance, whether we turn away from Him, or stray far from ‘home’, or lose our direction.
His mercy awaits; His mercy embraces; and His mercy welcomes us back into His arms. This is God’s love extraordinaire: unconditional, deep, life-giving, powerful, transforming, amazing!
The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking His company, to hear what He had to say. Jesus is a person who is interesting and is sought after by those who wish to hear His words, which indicates that He has a good story to tell.
Not just an entertaining story, Jesus offers guidance. He teaches lessons, and He causes those who follow Him to think.
The Pharisees and scribes were seemingly horrified that such a wise man would find Himself in the company of the lowly and undesirable, those of suspect character. However, God sent His Son to save mankind, meaning every human being.
The beautiful parable of the lost sheep zeroes in on how important each of us is to our Father. The ‘throwaway’ mentality which dehumanises, which too readily disposes of others and aims to destroy, is not of God.
This inhumanity cannot be of God because, life comes from God; it is invaluable, and therefore not ours to harm nor take. Too often we measure another’s worth by applying a cosmetic criterion which ignores the fundamental fact that all human beings are worthy of respect, kindness, and patient consideration.
Each person has value, strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has something to bring to ‘the table’. Every person who steps into our life has a lesson to teach us, and most probably, to help us grow.
If we adopt this perspective, rather than judging, labelling, demeaning, and reproaching, our outlook would be broader, our understanding would improve, and our relationships would blossom. Each of us is tasked to help our Father find His lost sheep, and help keep them in His loving fold.
Another insightful parable is that of the woman with ten drachmas, who after losing one, lit a lamp, swept out the house and searched thoroughly until she found it.
Light reveals, and brings clarity. ‘Sweep out the house’: we think of cleaning, removing what is unneeded, and clearing the space to reveal the hidden treasure.
Neglect allows debris to accumulate; the inattention to our inner treasure keeps us dusty, and dull. We are meant to shine, to radiate light, and this could only be achieved when we devote time to maintaining inner harmony, translating to outer harmony with others.
Harmony is very much an achievable state, which first starts in our minds—the thoughts we entertain, and allow to flourish. A popular refrain states ‘Don’t allow negativity to rent space in your head’. Our mind functions optimally when we engage positive, light-filled thoughts.
The woman searches thoroughly for the lost drachma. Initiating a thorough search would indicate that whatever was lost is valuable. We look everywhere, with eyes open, giving full attention.
If what we are searching for possesses value to us, we will not stop until it has been found. God values each of us. He does not lose us; we lose ourselves when we make choices which diverge from His way.
Often, we become comfortable with being lost, inadvertently believing that it is all about having ‘fun’. When we subscribe to selfishness, and when we want everything with minimum effort, we forget from where we came, from Whom we came.
God does not forget us. His ‘search party’ is always on-duty, searching for the misdirected, the lost, and those who cannot see any light. This is why different people come into our life, those who love us, those who teach us, those who encourage our growth, and those who challenge us—each one sent by God.
The fascinating tell for me from this gospel, is that we have a ‘home’, we have a Father who loves us, who wants good for us, who searches for us wherever we are, and who awaits us.
The gospel reflections for September are by Janine Aqui, parishioner of St Ann’s RC Church, St Ann’s Parish, and Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Toco-Matelot Parish. She is foremost a proud Catholic, working daily to become the best version of herself.