Sunday, September 11, 2022

The lost and found

This Sunday our presider presented a reflection on the Gospel that is worth my attempt to share. The reading brought three short parables of Jesus to us about the lost and the found. He started by musing on Lost and Found departments in many large institutions, public places and the awareness that the items "lost" end up taking up a greater and greater space, as not many of them are claimed/"found" by their owners.

These parables, however, bring us stories where the lost are also found.

The first would be seen as totally ludicrous, he said, if it was really understood as we understand it today. No shepherd in his right mind would leave a flock of 99 sheep to try and find just 1 lost one. Secondly we have a woman sweeping her house to find 1 coin, lost out of her 10. Much more realistic in a way because 1 out of 10 is more to lose than 1 out of 100, and that for women of the first century owning much money at all would have been unusual and therefore a real loss. In both cases, whether they make sense in their importance or not, the lost sheep and lost coin are found...amid great rejoicing.

Finally, the lost son, in the prodigal story that we know so well, is not really the son that left his father's house and returned repentant--the lost son is the elder son who cannot understand or accept his brother's "finding" nor his father's compassion and forgiveness. He is the one who is really lost at the end of the tale.

All of these, in the way so many of the Christian parables appear, are stories of paradox and mystery and head-shaking. Not much logic here, not much of the expected behavior or outcome. Welcome to the Gospels of Jesus.

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