24th Sunday http://usccb.org/bible/readings/091519.cfm
In January, 2015, Pope Francis noted, “God never tires of forgiving us. It’s we who become tired of asking for forgiveness.” The Gospel for this 24th Sunday speaks of God’s relentless pursuit of we who are lost. We could paraphrase the Pope’s comment to say, God never tires of pursuing us- looking for us when we are lost. It is we who tire of being found and reunited.
The Gospel parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son each speak to the lengths one goes to find what/who is lost, even to the absurd points of leaving the bulk of your wealth unattended (the 99 sheep left behind), overturning your life and home to find the lost coin, and enduring the insults of a selfish child and keeping watch day after day for the remote possibly of an unexpected return.
While the lengths our scripture characters go to find the lost is important, this lesson should not eclipse the joyful rejoicing and celebration when the lost is found and restored.
God is relentless in his pursuit, and effusively joyous when we are found and restored. Our return seems to make God’s joy complete.
There is an old saying that someone who is determined might, “move heaven and earth” to accomplish what they have their mind set on. God can and does move “heaven and earth” to find us when we are lost, distant, alienated and welcomes us back with open arms.
Think of time when you have lost something valuable or important to you? Describe that “sinking feeling” when you were without what you lost. What did you do to find what was lost? Were you relentlessly? How did you feel / what did you do when you found what you were missing?
Have you ever been lost, alienated, absent from family, friends? How did that feel? If you have not been restored, what are you going to do about that?
Do you appreciate how much God wants a relationship with you, and that you are the only one who can prevent that?