“Experiencing the saving power and presence of the Lord, by realizing our state of being lost, and allowing the Lord, to find us!”
(Based on Phil 3:3-8 and Lk 15:1-10 – Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time)
Bursting of crackers is, in places and on many occasions, considered to signal an ambience of happiness and celebration.
[NB: this reflection is not to discuss the pros and cons of bursting of crackers! :-)]
Crackers signify a mood of celebration and joy.
They are symbolic of a spirit of festivity and merriment.
The bursting and the sound of crackers surely spark off a message that some celebration is on & there is a mood of rejoicing and good cheer.
Today, we are in for some bursting of crackers….
But, guess where?
Not anywhere on the earth…
… But in Heaven!
Yes, we have crackers being burst in heaven!
Because, there is much to celebrate and be glad!
“There is much rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine who need no repentance” (Lk 15: 7)
The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to rejoice and celebrate the joy of discovering God’s love and a call to live a life in repentance.
Chapter 15 of St Luke is an amazing revelation of God’s tremendous love, mercy and longing for each one of us.
We have the Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son.
In all the three parables, lost ones are found
In all the three parables, there is great celebration at the end.
In all the three parables, an emphasis is laid on hope for the lost.
This chapter is a contradiction of many Human thought-patterns and an affirmation of many Divine thought-patterns…
There is a contradiction of the Human thought-pattern of thinking of things in terms of monetary rate and financial gain.
There is an affirmation of the Divine thought-pattern of acknowledging the deeper value and worth of objects and people!
There is a contradiction of the Human thought-pattern of giving up on things that are lost and not being bothered about it.
There is an affirmation of the Divine thought-pattern of desperately going after the lost and being in painful agony until found!
We are invited to shed the selfish Human thought-pattern and embrace the selfless Divine thought-pattern.
For our Gospel reflection, today, we shall consider the first two parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin.
A shepherd had a hundred sheep.
During the count as he gathers the sheep at day’s end, the shepherd notices that one is missing.
The sheep needs to be found; otherwise, it may be permanently lost or attacked by hungry predators.
The Shepherd takes the risk of leaving the rest behind, and goes out in search of the lost one.
The second parable parallels the first.
Here a silver coin has been lost.
It’s probably a drachma, which equals a denarius–a day’s wage for the average worker.
The coin needs to be found; else a day’s wage would be lost and would to the already existing financial burden.
The woman takes the hard trouble and effort, to sweep the house, in search of the lost coin.
In both the cases: The search yields successful results…
… the lost sheep and the lost coin is found.
In both the cases: The success leads to a great celebration…
… the shepherd and the woman rejoice and party
In both the cases: The cost of the celebration far exceeds the actual price of the thing lost!
Why such a sentimentality?
Why so much of economic waste?
The only logic behind it is: The Experience of Joy.
The Shepherd feels tremendously happy in getting back his lost sheep.
The woman feels tremendously happy in getting back her lost coin.
And this spurs them to forget all economics, and mathematics and tally and calculations…
Joy surpasses them all.
Joy overcomes them all.
Joy overtakes them all!
Jesus compares this same joy in heaven at the repentance of a sinner!
Am I similar to a Lost Sheep?
Lost in the thickets of materialistic living…?
Lost in the valleys of doubts and rejections and failures…?
Lost in the bushes of excessive pride, prestige and power….?
Lost in the wilderness of hopelessness and meaninglessness in life… ?
Am I similar to a Lost Coin?
Lost in the shadows of addictions and bad habits…?
Lost in the dust of corruption and malicious situations…?
Lost in the darkness of bad luck and unfair treatment by life…?
Lost in the corners of abuses and misunderstandings and false judgments…?
The Lord doesn’t abandon us.
The Lord comes in search of us.
We ought to hear His voice and respond.
We ought to allow ourselves to be found.
We ought to let Him take us on His shoulders.
We ought to permit Him to take us in His hands.
God comes looking for us.
We are the ones that God spends hours and hours, walking miles and probing all areas, in search.
We are the ones that God spends hours and hours on hands and knees, sweeping and searching for.
And when God finds us…
… He calls together all the saints in heaven, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my beloved sheep, my precious coin that was once lost…!”
Let us embrace the Lord Who comes in search of us, and make Him the greatest treasure of our lives, so that we can also echo with St Paul, who said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ!” (Phil 3:7-8)
Are we – You & I – ready to give heaven a reason to celebrate, by repenting of our sins & living a life, in accord with God’s Holy Will?
Yes, the crackers in heaven are waiting to be burst…
Let us experience the saving power and presence of the Lord, by realizing our state of being lost…
… and allowing the Lord, to find us!
God Bless! Live Jesus!