You may have noticed that today's Gospel reading
starts with three verses at
the beginning of Chapter 15
and then skips a ways
to pick up at verse 11
with the parable of the prodigal son.
Luke frames the whole chapter
Jesus' response to the Pharisees and scribes
who are complaining because he
eats with sinners,
and today's passage
is one of three very familiar
In addition to the prodigal son story,
Luke has Jesus tell
the story of the shepherd
leaving the flock of 99
and going in search of
that one wandering sheep,
and then the story of the woman searching all over
until she finds that one coin of the ten that she had lost.
each of these three stories what was lost is restored,
what was out of place
is back where it belongs,
whether it's through a shepherd's care,
or a parent's love.
Even though Luke puts these
in order to further his narrative,
scholars are fairly
certain that all three go back to Jesus,
just as they have little
that Jesus was criticized
for sharing meals with outcasts and the
When people get to be as
old as I am,
we can look back over our lives and find ourselves
character in today's Gospel parable.
Been there, done that.
I've been the
one who pointed a finger
at the kind of people someone chose as
like those Pharisees and scribes did.
I've been the ungrateful
like the younger son.
I've been the despairing
scrabbling to make a pittance at a job I hated,
wishing I could go
back home again.
And I've been the one
who was hurt and angry
of those who didn't work as hard as I did,
On the other
from time to time I've tried to be the one who forgives,
like the loving father in that parable.
But not very often.
I've even tried to be the one who points out injustice,
But again, not very often, and not often
St. Paul reminds us, in
that second reading,
that we who are in Christ
are called to be
ambassadors of reconciliation.
I find the etymology of that word ambassador
It comes to us from Middle English through Old French,
on two Latin usages meaning mission and servant.
Literally, we who are
ambassadors of Christ
are servants sent on a mission
with a message of
love and mercy.
We are called to welcome the wayward
just as the prodigal
son is welcomed.
are able to do that.
But, we know, sometimes it's just not possible,
trying to reconcile a relationship with an abusive partner
who will not admit
the problem or seek help.
When we are able to reach out in mercy and
we become, as Paul puts it,
messengers of God's own
of God's own justice.
That's when we carry the very
holiness of God to the
It's a big job,
we aren't alone.
Just as the ancient Israelites
walked through the desert
nourished by manna from God,
so do we walk through each week
by, uplifted by,
God's presence in our world.
Sometimes we travel through
subsisting on the promise that God is with us
even though we
feel alone and abandoned.
Sometimes we find ourselves resting in that
surrounded by all the gracious gifts of God.
And on the
we gather to celebrate the very holiness of our lives.
whether we've been stumbling through in a desert
ourselves in an oasis—
we walk in communion with God and with each
Thanks be to God!
Holy Spirit Catholic
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March
24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central
Avenue (Washington Church)
Rev. Dr. Bev
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006