What happens when something is lost? How do we react? If it is something that we value, we will search diligently for it, not giving up until we find it. If it is something we don’t really care about, we won’t put much energy into finding it. How valuable are we to God? Our Gospel answers that question with three parables.
The first two parables emphasize that we are so valuable to God that He searches for us as a shepherd would for a lost sheep or a woman for a lost coin. The implication is that the search would not stop until successful and there would be great joy when the sheep or coin is found. Wow! We are that valuable and God searches for us, sending us nudges and opportunities to give up sinful ways and return to Gospel living. Often God uses other people to help us. Our good example of living Gospel values like generosity, kindness, and forgiveness can be a big help to someone who is struggling with faith. An invitation to come to Mass or a meal prayer could be what God uses. We don’t live in a vacuum: every single thing we do or say could be used by God to find a lost sheep.
The third parable, the Prodigal Son, tells us how God is anxiously waiting for us, watching for our return. Notice how forgiving the father is: he cuts off the son’s canned speech, gives every indication that he is fully restored into the family, and sets up a joyful banquet and celebration.
God is both actively seeking us and patiently waiting for us to return, as was the prodigal father. That is the kind of Father we pray to when we say, Our Father, Who art in heaven…
I invite us this week to be thankful for a loving Father who is always seeking our love and patiently waiting for us. Let us renew our resolve to live in such a way that God can use us to bring others back to Him. God bless.
Church sign of the week: God doesn’t ask your ability or your inability. He asks only your availability.