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Sunday Week 24 Year C

Print Version September 11th, 2004

In my bible it gives a title to these two gospel stories: the lost sheep and the lost coin. I think they should be called the “The Crazy Woman” and “The Bad Shepherd”.
What kind of shepherd leaves the 99 at risk to go seek the one? 1% is an acceptable loss; 99% is a ridiculous risk. And what kind of shepherd forgets the flock entirely and takes the stray home for a party: a bad shepherd!
And why does the woman seek the coin so earnestly? Because it is a tenth of all she has, which is already very little. That might explain her thoroughness but she wastes a day’s wage to find a coin worth a day’s wage and then spends god knows how much to celebrate the finding…
What do we learn about God? God is crazy, reckless and immoderate. Oh and God likes a party. If you listened to parables like these you could only imagine heaven as one long riot of laughter and rejoicing.
The gospel begins with a po-faced complaint along those lines: ‘this man welcomes sinners and eats with them’. So Jesus tells them these stories but, where the complainers were talking about sin and propriety and the making of judgements, Jesus talks about finding what has been lost. All question of blame passes out of frame—you can’t after all un-lose yourself—and what comes to focus is the disproportionate value of the lost coin or the lost sheep and the intemperate joy of the finding.
We are that lost sheep; that lost coin. If we’ve got any nous we should be happy to be perpetually lost so that can be continually finding us. But we struggle to pretend we can find ourselves, that we can bestow some worth on our selves. Our value in God’s eyes has nothing to do with the worth we seek for ourselves. Our value lies in being lost, our joy in dropping the pretence of not needing to be found.
I don’t think Jesus was any different. He knew where he belonged. He welcomed the lost, feasted with them, rejoiced, partied. He knew his own value in his father’s heart. His life was one long being found and he revelled in it and he let others revel in it too.

Entry Filed under: Homilies,Loyola Hall

1 Comment

  • 1. Rev Robbie, UK  |  June 12th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    What a refreshing comment! Lets get lost, or rather acknowlege our lostness, and revel in being found! Jesus and his relationship with the tax collectors etc becomes the acted parable of the “bad” shepherd itself. God’s love is full of surprises, and ever fresh!


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