I sit here on a quite hilltop on a Saturday morning as the sun begins to rise over the horizon and I open my shades to ponder on God’s creation, sipping my daily cup of coffee. I take a peak to see the Gospel for tomorrow’s Sunday Mass and find it to be a classical masterpiece of Jesus. Jesus will speak about forgiveness in three timeless parables. Before the coffee gets cold, I’ll mention something briefly about the first two parables, but spend most of this blog time on the third and longest parable.
Sheep and Coins. At the offset of Luke 15, Jesus explains how the Good Shepherd does the absurd thing to look for one lost sheep out of the ninety-nine that securely find themselves in his fold. A shepherd’s sheep was his primary source of income. If he lost all ninety-nine for the one, he would find himself hungry and without a job. Such a care, concern …. such a love for one sheep may seem preposterous and nonsensical. Jesus continues with his stories by addressing the woman and the lost drachmē. A drachmē was a greek silver coin which this one woman seeks through ever nook and corner until she finds it. Both these parables speak of Jesus’ particular concern for the lost. Finding the lost always leads to celebration.
The Third Parable. Better known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, it is a story of how the youngest son spoils his inheritance on a wasted life of dissipation. It is a story of how one sinner reclaims his childhood. Once the youngest son reaches rock bottom from the severe famine that struck the land … it is at that moment …. that moment at the threshold of despair … that the youngest remembers who he is. HE IS A SON & he learns to stand on that rock bottom to regain who he is through conversion and repentance.
He remembers his original blessedness, his father’s love, he remembers his identity in his father’s house. His repentance begins when he remembers … and journeys back to the Father’s house. Ah, the father …. the father who runs to him before he even has the opportunity to ask for readmittance, to ask pardon, to ask forgiveness.
In the most extreme moments of life, some of us have hit rock bottom and realize that there is only one way to go from there … that is to return! Return to our original blessedness, to the God who loved us from the foundation of the world. Jesus’ parable is a reminder to return to our childhood. A childhood in which we rest assured that the Father will provide for all we need within the walls of mother Church. There, in the Church, we are fed at the table of abundance and altar of sacrifice and reconciliation.
My cup of coffee is reaching its final savoring sip. The rays of the sun begin to truly break through the skyline of this little part of Oregon. Bells will soon ring for the celebration of Mass. And as they ring I remember that within the walls of the father’s house every sinner can become a saint — this is our venture and ultimate goal. Sainthood is possible.