LUKE 15, 1 – 10 (1 – 32)
1 The tax collectors and sinners, however, were all crowding round to listen to him,
2 and the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
3 So he told them this parable:
4 ‘Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it?
5 And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders
6 and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost.”
7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.
8 ‘Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it?
9 And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, I have found the drachma I lost.”
10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.’
11 Then he said, ‘There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me.” So the father divided the property between them.
13 A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
14 ‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch;
15 so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.
16 And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.
17 Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger!
18 I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men.”
20 So he left the place and went back to his father. ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him.
21 Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.”
22 But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we will celebrate by having a feast,
24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.
25 ‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing.
26 Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about.
27 The servant told him, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf we had been fattening because he has got him back safe and sound.”
28 He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out and began to urge him to come in;
29 but he retorted to his father, “All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends.
30 But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property — he and his loose women — you kill the calf we had been fattening.”
31 ‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours.
32 But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.” ‘
Luke 15 is presented three times in Year C:
the parable of the prodigal son for Lent 4 (1 – 3a. 11 – 32),
the parable of the shepherd searching for the stray sheep for the Feast of the Sacred Heart (3b – 7), and
the twin parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin in the shorter reading for this Sunday (1 – 10).
Reginald H Fuller and Daniel Westberg, Preaching the Lectionary: The Word of God for the Church Today, Rev Ed. Liturgical Press 1984.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Doubleday & Company 1985.
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
Tune: IN BABILONE
PRESENTATION & PREPARATION OF GIFTS
Our Father, We Have Wandered
Tune: PASSION CHORALE Hans Leo Hassler
Unless A Grain Of Wheat
Here I Am
Lord of All Hopefulness
Praise, My Soul the King of Heaven
Henry Francis Lyte 1834
Tune: LAUDA ANIMA John Goss 1868
We are prompted to dwell more deeply on the face of God especially during this Jubilee of Mercy. God is portrayed as the Parent persistent in care and hounding the lost, rich in merciful love and in forgiveness for the returning.
Taking the rich fare of Luke 15 with other passages for this Sunday together what am I called to change in how I image and relate to God as such a welcoming and forgiving Parent and thereby to:
grow more like this Source of Merciful Love as Father or Mother (G),
return to this God whenever I am “lost” or “have strayed” (1, P),
mediate — like Moses, Nathan, and especially Jesus Christ — for others’ homecoming to God who waits to love and ever affirm each and everyone to one’s personal worth as child and creature (1, P, 2, G), and
celebrate with joy our own homecomings to God and of others in our ministries (G)?