Reflections on Scripture Twenty-fourth Sunday Gospel C

By 11:03 AM

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." 

Have you had people in your life who always found fault with what you did? This group was like a constant thorn in Jesus’ side. Notice how Jesus handles them. So to them he addressed this parable. "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Reflect on God’s mercy for you each time you sinned and each time God forgave.
Humanly, would we leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the one that wanted to stray or would we let the one go and concentrate on the ninety-nine. Why would God show such concern for the one that wanted to stray?
Reflect on your many confessions and on the fact that there was great rejoicing in heaven when you repented and returned to the Lord.
Then he said, "A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them.  As you reflect on this parable look at it from the point of view of Jesus seeking to show us how much the Father loves us.
Humanly this father is "foolish" to dote over a son who would rather see him dead rather than deny himself of his own pleasures.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Can we relate to our sinful actions over the years? At the moment, we were rolling high and then after all was said and done we had nothing to show for our sinful decisions except self-contempt, anger, a sense of unworthiness, failure, shame, guilt, a sense of hopelessness etc. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."’
What was the grace of the moment for him? Can we recall similar graces in our own lives given to us by God that allowed us to begin to return to him? So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants,‘ Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.  Can you get in touch with the "foolishness" of the father? God is not interested in what we did but that we "returned to our senses" and returned to his waiting arms and become the son/daughter that we are in his eyes in spite of what we did.
In the parable this happened once. In real life how often have we experienced this unconditional love and mercy of the Father?
Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. Have we at times been angry with God because he seems to treat others better than he treats us? He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’"  What is the focus of the elder son? Himself. What did he forget?
Can we see ourselves at times like the first son and then like the second son and then like the father?
What do we take from this parable and our reflection to apply to our life today?

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