“Living joyfully by having a recognition and acknowledgement of the presence of Jesus in our hearts!”
(Based on Exod 32:7-14, 1 Tim 1:12-17 and Lk 15:1-32 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)
Little Nancy was a very happy child.
She was happy going to the Church and saying her daily prayers.
She would often tell, “I am so happy because Jesus is with me and I want to share His love to many others.”
This 6 year old girl would also try to help others, in the little way, she could, whenever possible.
Seeing her joyful student, the English teacher in school, once remarked about her:
“Joy in her,” she said, “is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart, when the King is in residence there!”
The teacher recognized and acknowledged, that the joy in the little girl…
… was because of the presence of Jesus in her heart!
Joy abounds… in heaven and in one’s heart…
… when one is in closer communion with the Compassionate and Merciful Lord.
The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to a life of discovering God’s love and living a life in repentance and thus sharing in the joy that heaven celebrates!
“There is much rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7)
The Fifteenth Chapter 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 reflection, let us delve deeper into these three parables: The Parable of the lost sheep, the Parable of the lost coin and the Parable of the lost sons.
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.
The success leads to a great celebration… the shepherd and the woman rejoice and party
The third parable is about two sons who go away from the father
… the first one (younger son) – who lavishly spends away the father’s generosity!
… the second one (elder son) – who refuses to accept the offer of the father’s merciful love!
In all the three parables – there is a celebration that follows the finding of the lost one(s)…
… and the cost of the celebration far exceeds the actual price of the thing lost (person)!
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
The father feels tremendously happy in getting back his lost son
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!
Joy is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart, when the King is in residence there!
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 corners of abuses and misunderstandings and false judgements…?
Lost in the darkness of bad luck and unfair treatment by life…?
Lost in the dust of corruption and malicious situations…?
Lost in the shadows of addictions and bad habits…?
Am I similar to the lost son(s)…
Lost in the lures of the ‘apparent pleasures and niceties’ of life…?
Lost in the “stinking sty” of feeling lonely and abandoned…?
Lost in the pride of stubbornness and jealousy, and failure to accept God’s Mercy…?
The Lord assures His Merciful Love for all of us
We ought to…
… hear His voice and respond.
… allow ourselves to be found.
… let Him take us on His shoulders.
… permit Him to take us in His hands.
God comes looking for us.
We are the ones for whom God spends hours and hours, walking miles and probing all areas, in search!
We are the ones for whom God spends hours and hours, on hands and knees, sweeping and searching for!
We are the ones for whom God runs to embrace in His arms, and constantly pleads to accept His Merciful care!
And when God finds us, He calls together all the saints in heaven, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my treasured sheep, my precious coin, my beloved child – who was once lost.”
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?
It is only this recognition and acknowledgement of the presence of Jesus in our hearts
… that makes us joyful!
Yes, Joy abounds… in heaven and in one’s heart…
… when one is in closer communion with the Compassionate and Merciful Lord!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The movement of the celebration
In the communion, preceded by the Lord’s Prayer and the Breaking of the Bread, the faithful receive “the Bread of Heaven” and “the Cup of Salvation,” the Body and Blood of Christ who offered Himself “for the life of the world”
Because this bread and wine have been made Eucharist (“Eucharisted” – according to an ancient expression),” we call this food Eucharist, and no one may take part in It unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught. (CCC #1355)