(Luke 15:1-32) Undoubtedly, we’ve all had the experience of losing something – a jacket, a wallet, our keys, an earring…things with varying degrees of importance or worth. Yet what’s interesting is that, regardless of the object, once we realize we’ve lost something, all of our efforts and energy become focused on finding it. We stop whatever we’re doing and suddenly launch into a mission to reclaim what is ours! If this is our reaction, the words of the Lord should come as no surprise to us this week, for He desires that none of us should perish.1
In the Gospel, we learn that Jesus’ mission is also to find what is lost. But unlike the things we lose – mere objects, which can be replaced – Jesus came to search out something of infinite value: lost souls. Through the parables He describes, we come to understand the value Jesus places on each and every soul, how precious we are to Him. Like the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep, our Lord risked everything for the chance to save even one of us. When we wander and go astray, we can be assured that He will always lovingly bring us back. Like the woman who scours her house searching for the lost coin, God knows our worth and won’t let us slip through a crack, never to be seen again. He will search tirelessly for ways to bring us back into His safekeeping. And, like the man who rejoices upon seeing his son return home, our loving Father won’t dwell on our poor choices – the things that caused us to lose our way – but is ready to welcome us back with open arms! What a beautiful message to hear, one so contrary to the one we get in the world today.
Our Lord sees us so differently than everyone else does. He loves each one of us unconditionally – not as just “one of many,” but as unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable souls! He does not judge us according to our merits or by what we can “contribute.” We are valued and loved simply because He made us. This is the kind of love that we were made for, and it is only when we become lost in this love that we find ourselves, that we discover who we really are. We are God’s children, and He will never forsake us.
– Kelley Holy
1 Cf. 2 Peter 3:9