September 11, 2022, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ex. 32:7-11, 13-14 1 Tim. 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-32
Today, the lectionary gives us three stories of lost and found. The shepherd loses and then finds one of his sheep, a woman loses and then finds one of her coins and, if we hear the entire reading, a father loses and then finds one of his two sons. Homilies on these stories usually begin with, "God is like… a good shepherd, a woman, a father… “
Before we do that let's take a look at that which is lost. Sheep #100 might be stuck in brambles, frightened and bleating loudly. Or, he might have wandered away and still be clueless about the danger he is in. Clearly, the lost coin lying in the corner on the floor is powerless to attract the attention of the woman with her broom. The prodigal son, once he has his epiphany and decides to return home, discovers that his father was searching the horizon for sight of him all along and runs toward him “while he is still a long way off.” Apparently, there are lots of different ways to be lost. …
And it also seems that the seeking is not caused by anything that which is lost has done. The seeking is in the heart of the seeker. The prodigal son had a conversion experience, but the father did not. The father was always waiting, looking, seeking.
I've heard it said that Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, had this sign in his office: “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus Adherit.” For those without the benefit of four years of high school Latin that means, “Called or not called, God comes”.
God comes. God seeks. God loves. You are that important. Knowing you have lost your way moves along the happy ending. But it does not change God's heart. God's love for you is not predicated upon your having an “aha” moment. God wants you.
And as a friend of mine says, what God wants, God usually gets!
Living the gospel
How do you feel knowing God seeks you “as is”, as you are right now?
How do you feel knowing God loves everyone that same way?