If one doesn’t know they are lost, then it may be hard for them to get found.
READINGS FOR MASS: SNIPPETS
I, Paul, once known as Saul, was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, and I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. yet, Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, I was mercifully treated, even the foremost of sinners. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am one of them, to tell of God’s great Mercy!
“Go down at once to your people, Moses, for they have become depraved. They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out to it:
O Moses, “I see how stiff-necked this people is, ” said the LORD.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed them parables (like the lost coin).
In general, the readings address the situation of being lost.
Jesus is God come to this world to declare that we truly are lost sinners, all needing to be saved. As for His followers, who have come to realize that and put their trust in Him and are baptized and started on The Way, we know that we still have surrender to God to becoming fully found in Him. This chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel surely relates to chapter 15 of John’s Gospel, when Jesus instructs His disciples to “abide in Me,” meaning, He wants us to remain following Him and to keep growing and maturing in His teachings. This parable in Luke 15 is addressed, also, to His disciples who have life areas ‘under construction,’ as we might be called as partially lost persons, looking to get fully returned to the body of Christ in the manner of God’s call. Curiously, Jesus teaches in Luke 15 that it’s like that we are all coins that need to be found and then brought together into a complete set. Jesus relates to a woman who has lost a valuable coin, one missing of a set of ten. She goes diligently looking for the missing coin. The Lord teaches that this illustration could describe His mission over us.
In salvation’s message in the Bible, God says that He looked upon us sinners in the world as all once scattered and astray. Maybe we could compare it today to someone who spilled out onto the floor of a store their very large container of coins. The local Giant store has a coin processor. (Have you seen it?) One can place their multitude of coins (their collection of extra change) into the machine, and then it counts and processes it all. I recently used the machine and I got about $36 from the coffee can of coins collected over some months. Our parishioner Jim saw me there in the store, and I successfully poured my can of coins into the machine. I was told there of a person who spilled out their much larger container of coins, totally missing the machine’s coin spout, and how the coins bounced and rolled and jingled and jangled all over the place, spread out far and wide over the store floor. I recall that story, as I compare it to this parable of Christ and His image of lost persons, all scattered about. But Jesus says that He is a collector of the lost, and He can go look and find each of us, and then He puts us into His Body, the Church, for this work of saving and unifying, and it’s because each coin/person lost is quite valued to Him. He would like to get as many coins recovered, that is, our souls rescued, and then brought into redemption, into His set, as it were, and to joyfully show us in His Everlasting Home.
Do you see the illustration of today’s parable, as put in a modern way? He is in that process of putting us into His set, as it were. This is where we can recognize how we are disciples who have some areas in our lives to be disciplined into obedience or conformity to Christ. We have areas in our relationship to Him and to others which still needs much work. One obvious work that God has in mind is to bring us all into unity and to that love one another practice in its perfection, which is the vision told in John 16 and 17.
Jesus is saying that His mission is to find the lost and to shine us up. We are like a lost coin of great value.
A follower of numismatics (which is the study of coins and currency) tells me that a lost coin in a special 50 States of Quarters set of 1999, such as a missing 1999 P-Connecticut quarter, would be significant. That coin alone can be worth $10,000, so it really is needed in that set, and would definitely be missed. If you were the one who had the coin set, but then noticed that this particular quarter had slipped out of the booklet (and had known its value), you’d go looking for it. (Me? I’d probably mistakenly use it on a vending machine!) Yet, taking this word of a numismatic, on a ’99 P-Connecticut quarter, maybe we can relate somehow to how the woman’s coin was quite valuable to her, in some way. She was quite glad to find it, so we hear.
The parable lesson is how God is quite glad to find His lost people, especially all those who were once caught up in the darkness of sin and its clutches, but then found by Him to become free.
[Again: Just so that you don’t hear this lesson as only applied as to one’s ‘start’ to Christianity by praying to receive Jesus, and thinking that is how you fully are found and un-lost to God… Realize, that as our Catholic Faith teaches of a full gospel, that, even for the practicing disciple of Christ, God has some more finding to do of us, as in finding His reign in all areas of our life. A coin that is found lost still has to be returned to its set, as this lesson of The Savior teaches, and consider, then, how He still has the task of placing us back within the set we belong to, in the Body of believers. Once back fully into the set, and ready to serve the rest and the Mission of Christ, then we have the full application of the parable, don’t we?
We have our definite areas of where or how we are still seemingly lost and confused in some areas, as not keeping faith in that category, and thus, it likely has put us as separated somewhat from the whole set of believers, each who are called to holiness and unity. God wants to put us all together in harmony. Yet we need to be cooperative with all of that. Unlike coins, we can displace ourselves out of the set. How do we do that? The gospel today says that we are not listening well enough and deeply enough to The Lord. If we listen and obey God’s will, then He can move us back to where we belong in Him.
This is why I termed the phrase Partially Lost people. ]
God wants us to listen and to catch on to this lesson of our needing to be found, and knowing our value, and realizing of our cooperation needed for God to draw us all back unto Himself.
The men to whom this parable is addressed were the ones not listening. They acted as if they didn’t need to listen to Jesus—and that can be us in various ways. God could be saying to someone: “Hey, that matter of your tongue and of your habit of being too quick to speak, you are lost in some trouble there, and it is doing harm to others, and to your walk of faith! You need to find your way out of it and back to the Light.”
God wants us to differ from the Pharisees and scribes who were too self-centered to be impacted by Jesus and His ways, and these men just were not stopping and listening to Him. Jesus tells it plainly so.
That example of the parable is about acknowledging the effect of sin and its influence upon us. It is meant to teach us something at Mass today, of how this is meant to be our sanctuary and meeting place with God to start a new week. Are you arrived today for an encounter with The Lord and to receive a Word from Him here?
If that would be our expectation at Mass, then we’d never be bored at Mass. We would be excited of stepping out of the world and its ways, and in being here to be led by God, and in joining up with other believers serious about this business of becoming a Christian.
As in our coming into this Mass: Let us thirst and listen to get a word from God while communing with Him in the Sacred Liturgy! As we check in with the Lord here on our Sunday Mass, let us believe that Jesus likely has something about yourself that you need to listen to Him about. Notice and listen for His Word to you, about an area to get un-lost.
I heard a Catholic speaker named Matthew Kelly say that this boredom of some Mass-goers is pretty widespread, so he has published a booklet to take to Mass and to write down at least one thing that God communicates to you while at Mass. He says he made this booklet for himself first, to enter the attitude of an encounter with God at Sunday Mass, for a holy word to have to start off his week. It’s a good idea– to bring along a little pad to Sunday Mass, to write down one thing that we believes God has said to us here at Mass. He says that it has changed his experience of every Mass. I pass on that practice as a guide for you.
In turning the corner and rounding home in the homily today, this Luke chapter 15 and its lessons are about of what’s lost getting found and being celebrated Home. It’s the heart of Luke’s Gospel.
If we can admit that something’s lost…then we can be in the right manner of finding our way. If we would just ask directions from God!
Monday Morning Reflection: Sept. 16
I am a holy fan of St. Anthony, the patron of lost things. He has a patron of lost things prayer petition—it goes: “Saint Anthony, Anthony, turn around! Something’s lost that must be found.” I’m a needy person for St. Anthony’s turn-around help, as a co-intercessor with me to Jesus, because I am a multi-tasker person, who gets distracted sometimes so as to forget where I’ve laid down things, such as tickets, keys, my phone, my passport, and homily notes! St. Anthony of Padua introduced himself to me in my Confirmation year, as the one I should take as my patron saint, since he is the patron saint of lost items getting found. He has helped me to admit I need a lot of help, not just in finding lost things, but in my life getting fully found by Jesus! I have areas to get un-lost and put into Christ and Christ’ Body, in union with His will.
The tradition, by the way, of asking for St. Anthony of Padua for help with lost stuff, goes to a scene from his own life when he could not find a very valued book, His prayer psalter of The Psalms. It turns out that someone had took and left the monastery with it. Anthony pleaded God that it would be found and returned to him. After he prayed this prayer, the person fleeing away with his book was met by a spirit who told the prayer-book thief to return it back to Anthony. He did, and while back to the community on that task, he committed himself into the Franciscan Order. It’s a nice story.
We pray for Anthony’s help, not just for lost phones, but especially for lost persons, as seemingly they sound as like a few thousand coins clinking and spattering around on the floor, as people fallen and lost without a true hope in God. Can many be recovered, like in Jim sweeping the floor over at Giant? Yes.
Paul says in today’s epistle—I was arrogant with God, but I changed. The story with Moses today shows God’s comment to His prophet—I do see this is a stiff-necked people, but I intend to lead them homeward by you. The Psalm of today advices for everyone: A contrite heart is the sacrifice God wants.
### end of homily.
Added thing>>> In someone else’s homily, they were commenting on why someone like Archbishop Gregory would go to a thing like “theology on tap.” Some critics thought the Archbishop need not go to a bar to give a recent talk. For explanation, there is a singles ministry that we have from the Archdiocese Young Adult office that has an outreach ministry at bars, called “Theology on Tap.” Not all are fans of this approach, but today’s gospel does say how Pharisees and scribes had a similar complaint of Jesus. Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus explained His presence among sinners was to be among where people in need could be found. As in Theology on Tap, there are young adults who are in need of getting back in touch with their Catholic Faith. That program does offer a connection there at their watering hole and gathering place. Archbishop Gregory has attended one, I hear. That’s good of him, I think.
We have our RCIA class starting up. We need members. We have four so far. We meet on Monday nights at 7. It is a class to teach the Catholic Faith. Have you ever invited someone to it? Maybe it was the word God had for a few of you yesterday at Mass!