+ Pax et Bonum!
Our readings today talk to us about lost things. We know about lost things. We’ve all lost things before. Sometimes, when they are things of great value or items that hold great meaning to our lives, it can be very upsetting to lose that valuable thing. I’ve dealt many times with loved ones who have lost their wedding ring, or their favorite Rosary, or their favorite prayer book. And many times they lose these important items right here at church. Now, in many ways, church is a good place to lose something, because most of the time, we turn things in that we find and that don’t belong to us. You lose something at church and there’s a good chance we’re going to find and it get to the rightful owner…eventually. But we all know that experience of losing something and then being pretty sure that we are never going to see it again. How many times have we lost sunglasses? Or our jacket? Or our umbrella? I think I mentioned to you guys before, that I have a terrible habit of leaving my watch in the sacristies of other churches. There for awhile, I think I had left a watch in the sacristy of one of the churches in all five of the dioceses in Indiana! Then there are the unusual things that people lose. I’ve had people call and ask if we found their dentures. People lose car keys all the time. But I had one guy call and ask if we had found the keys to his boss’s car, which somehow he had lost here at the Parish. My all-time favorite, and this was not here, but it was the lady who called and wanted to know if we had found a glass eye. Could you imagine? You’re trying to pray at Mass, and you look down under the pew in front of you, and see a glass eye? Guys, you can’t even make this stuff up! Catholics are wild and crazy people!
God is talking to us about lost things this week, because God desperately wants us to know that He loves us, and God is always going to come looking for us, no matter how lost we get. That’s what’s going on in these stories today. The lost sheep, the woman’s lost coin, and the Prodigal Son are all powerful stories of folks who did not give up and until they found and got back, what they had lost. And notice in every one of the cases, there’s great rejoicing! The shepherd is joy-filled! He rejoices and call his friends when he finds his lost sheep. The woman who had lost the coin, calls her friends and neighbors and celebrates that she had found her coin. And certainly, the father of the Prodigal Son throws a feast when his “lost” son returns. My brothers and sisters, what is being described for us is God’s incredible love for each and every one of us! This is a amazing love. God’s not talking about finding His keys, or His watch, or even His wallet. God is talking about our souls. God loves our souls. God loves our souls enough that He came down from Heaven, died on a cross, and rose again, just so we could have the chance for eternal salvation. This is NOT a God Who is going to leave us hanging. This is NOT a God Who doesn’t care. This is NOT a God Who is going to give up on us. He is always searching for our souls, for our love, and for commitment to Him.
Of course, one of the stories that we heard today was the story of the Prodigal Son. And we have heard this stories dozens and dozens of times. And what we most have to admit about this story, is the fact that this father still loves his lousy younger son. You see, the older son doesn’t get that. The older son, the older brother, can’t forgive, and he can’t let go, and he can’t pretend that his younger brother has blown half of the money. And yet, that older son has that same incredible, merciful, generous love that the younger son has. And that is really good news for all of us! That’s great news for us! Because we read this story and we like to think of ourselves as that older son, the faithful one. When in fact, we are ALL the Prodigal sons and daughters of a most amazing God! What will take for us to realize how much love and mercy the Father has for each and every one of us? What would it take to convince us, that no matter what we’ve done, no matter where we’ve been, no matter how far away from God we have gotten, the Father still loves, and still wants us back, and truly desires that we not be “lost” anymore.
That kind of love, that realization of that kind of mercy, changes lives for all eternity. We must give the Father the chance to find us. Because in His finding us, we find the true love and peace that we most seek in this life. And then we can share it with others. Let us NOT be lost any longer. But may we return to God and His peace, for the rest of our days!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!