Lost and Found -- Three Parables of Conversion-A A +A
The Good News
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
THIS Sunday's gospel (Luke 15:1-32) speaks of three parables: the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Lost Son.
In the first parable, a man who has 100 sheep loses one of them. He leaves the 99 and goes to the open country to search for the lost sheep. When he finds it he joyfully carries the sheep home on his shoulders, calls for his friends and celebrates.
In the second parable, a woman has 10 silver coins. Losing one of them, she lights a lamp and sweeps the floor of the house, looking for it. Finding the coin, she calls for her friends and rejoices.
In the last parable, a man has two sons. One of them (often called the prodigal son) takes his inheritance ahead of the appointed time. He goes to a distant country and squanders his wealth on sinful living. Later, left with no more money, he finds himself in a very pitiful situation -- employed in the lowly job of feeding pigs, destitute and hungry in a land struck by famine. He goes home to his father, ready to forego his status as son and apply even just as one of his father’s servants. From a distance, the father sees him. He rushes to meet him, welcomes him with open arms, dresses him with the best robe, and puts a ring on his fingers and sandals on his feet.
Then he hosts a grand party, feasting on the best fattened calf.
What do these three parables have in common? They are all stories of conversion. The lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son -- each of these represents the individual sinner who is reinstated in the kingdom of God.
In all three, there was an active search on the part of the owner for whatever he has lost. The shepherd took sacrifices searching for his lost sheep. The woman took effort looking for her lost coin. And the father took great pains waiting for the return of his lost son.
God, our loving Father, is like the three of them. Whenever anyone of his children goes astray, he never stops looking for him. His immeasurable love and compassion drive him to provide all the means and chances he can give to any poor sinner who repents and clings back to his Father’s loving hands. And when even just one soul is saved, the whole of heaven celebrates and rejoices.
That is how God loves you and me. He even gave us his one and only Son Jesus to suffer and die on the cross so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (see John 3:16). Yes, our Father longs to see us saved, happy, joyful and victorious -- living the full life that he so generously offers. Undeserved, amazing and beyond compare -- that is God’s gracious gift of love.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 12, 2013.