September 11, 2010


24th Sunday - C
Luke 15: 1-32

The Lost and the Finder

The three parables that Jesus tells us in today's Gospel are quite well-known. Phrases like "the good shepherd," or "the prodigal son" are even found in secular circles.

So is the phrase "lost and found." It may not have its origin in these parables, but for sure we hear it enough. Consequently, we tend to pay more attention to the "lost and found" characters/objects in these parables - the lost sheep, the lost coin and, especially, the younger of the two sons.

The central character of the parables, however, is not the lost and found, but the finder.

The shepherd, in order to find the one lost sheep, "would leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it." He actively searches out for the lost one. When he finds it, with great joy, he invites his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him.

The woman, losing one coin, "would light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it." She, too, rejoice with her friends and neighbors when she finds the lost coin.

And the ultimate finder is the father. While his son "is still a long way off," the father catches sight of him. He has been looking out, searching for his wayward son to return. "Filled with compassion" he runs to his son, embraces him and kisses him. He then tells people, "Let us celebrate with a feast" because he has found his son. There, the focus is not on the lost son who is found, but the finder.

But the finder's search is not yet over.

The father goes out searching again a second time for the other son who feels alienated and refuses to enter the house. He even "pleads" with his son.

The Father is not to be found in a celebration as long as one of His children is still lost. [1] God is the Finder, still searching outside for His sons and daughters who are not yet in the fold.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 163.

No comments: