11 September 2022 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

by Fr Joachim Robert

Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Psalm 50(51):3-4,12-13,17,19
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-32

A Call to Repentance and Restoration

Dear friends,

Our whole Gospel today reminds us of this sense of being lost. We have the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the lost son.

Now I am sure, dear friends, each one of us would have experienced some part of our lives that we have been lost. Our experiences of being lost would be one that makes us realise of where we can drift, where we can move away and that experience of being lost is not a pleasant one.

Now I am sure, when I was reading this text as well, as I sat down with the text, what came to mind was there was one time in my last month or so, where there was one time where I lost my car key and I was not sure where did I put my car key. And that sense of anxiousness, of that restlessness that I had because I was not able to move anywhere, because I did not have any car key to travel and I had to ask, borrow and ask people for assistance to take me here and there. But that moment of waiting made me realise of how dependent are we on our material things. And sometimes, unless we lose something, we are unable to appreciate what we have and we take things for granted.

In the same way, dear friends, when we look at the Gospel text of today, looking at the lost sheep, at the lost coin and the lost son, it is a reminder for us to look at our own journey of life as well. When we are lost, what is our motions, what is our experiences, and how we have come to realise how much we have taken things for granted. And very often we would focus on the coin which was lost, the sheep that was lost, the son was lost.

But today, let us reflect upon the joy of being found.

When the coin was lost, the woman did everything she can to clear the whole house, to light the lamp at night in order to find that lost coin. The sheep which was lost, the shepherd goes out in search of the lost sheep and once he has found the lost sheep brings it back to the fold. And the father waited patiently in order for the son to return home.

And when we look at this, dear friends, this sense of waiting, waiting for the Lord, waiting to find that coin, waiting to find the sheep, waiting to find the son, brings us a different emotion all together. And again, when we are lost, that negative experience of being lost makes us realise of the joy of being found, being found by the Lord.

And I am sure, dear friends, many of us have different experiences in our lives, different experiences of being lost. But those experiences of being lost has made us realise, has made us appreciate the gift of relationship that God has given to us. For the woman, for the shepherd, for the father, it meant that the coin, the sheep and the son meant something so great for them that they waited patiently, going all out in order to find what they have lost. And that shows that the coin, the sheep and the son is someone, something that is precious to them.

And you and I, dear friends, when we break away from our relationship with God, yes, we go on our ways, we go on our own journey acknowledging that we know better than God but the Father awaits for us. Waits for us to come back, to return to His fold once again, in the same way of how the prodigal son came to his senses, leaving the place that he was, coming to his senses and returning back to the father’s house. It is where we belong, it is where the Lord wants us to be. But, the love and the mercy of God allows us, embraces us and wants us to experience that love that He has for us.

Each time when we go for confessions, it is an opportunity that the Lord gives to us to come back to the house of the Father once again. To come back to the Father’s house with that repentance of heart so that we are able to dwell in His presence once again. And we, as we show our compassion of love towards one another, and as we welcome others who are so distant away from God, God puts us so many obstacles in our lives but God also sends so many angels as well to bring us back to the fold, just like how the shepherd goes out to find the sheep and brings the sheep back to the sheepfold. And how the father waits patiently for the son to return to his house.

But as we as individuals acknowledge how the Father has lavished His love upon us, we must be reminded that we too need to share that love and compassion towards others. And sometimes we love with all our hearts. Sometimes we struggle to love. Sometimes we cannot love because of the pain and the experiences of live that we have endured. But we need to be reminded, dear friends, that the Father’s love for us is far far greater than the magnitude of our sins and we have done.

Even though if we are loving, compassionate like the Father, there are some of us who also are like the elder son, waiting and not wanting to celebrate the feast the father wants to give the son, the younger son because that elder son was not able to acknowledge the depth of relationship that the father has for him. Because each time he was with the father, he was able to only acknowledge the relationship of a slave and a master rather than as a father and a son.

Even though we are dwelling in the Father’s house, we may have misguided ideas or perspective of what the Father’s relationship is for us. Even when we are in that household of God, we feel that we should be privilege, we should have certain privileges from one above the other. But we need to be reminded today, dear friends, that the Father’s love for us, for all of us, is the same and He waits and waits patiently for us to come back to His house once again.

Whether we like it or not, the Father celebrates the return of the prodigal son. And you and I are invited to celebrate together with the Father. But are we people who want to go into that celebration together with the Father or do we want to wait outside like the elder son because he feels he is not privilege?

So let us pray, dear friends, that we are able to embrace the loving mercy that the Father has for us and the Father has for everyone in the world. Even though we may not understand the Father’s love, let us pray for the grace that our hearts will be open to receive that loving mercy of God and rejoice in the happiness of being found by the Lord.

And if we are lost, dear friends, let us leave from that place and return to the Father’s house so that we can celebrate with the Father in His loving embrace for us.

Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-

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