Gospel Reflection Thursday (3 November) – 31st week Ordinary Time – God’s love for the lost
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (15: 1-10) in which Jesus tells his disciples the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.
Fr Paul says today’s gospel gives us two parables on forgiveness. These two parables begin a whole section of Luke’s Gospel, which has been called ‘the Gospel of the Outcast’ because of the frequency of call to several kinds of outcasts.
The first parable we hear is that of the lost sheep, which is also found in the Gospel of Matthew in the chapter on the community. Matthew, with this parable, is emphasising the obligation of everyone to care for each other. As we hear in Luke, however, he puts a whole new emphasis on the joy in heaven at the return of the sinner. Along with this sense of joy there is a certain lack of balance. Is it wise for the shepherd to leave the 99 sheep to predators and thieves while he goes in search of the lost one?
Then, Fr Paul says, we come to the parable of the lost coin, which Luke adds (and Matthew doesn’t contain). Fr Paul notes that it is a woman who is the central figure in this parable because Luke is always careful to show that women have an equal part in the Kingdom with men. In this case, we can picture the woman sweeping out the dusty dirt floor in a windowless low-lit room. But again, there is this lack of balance because the party for her friends and neighbours will cost more than the single coin recovered.
It is worth noting that in both cases the initiative to find what was lost comes from the shepherd and housewife, respectively.
Mindful of these two parables, for our reflection today Fr Paul asks us to think about this question ‘Is God’s unconditional love and forgiveness missing from my life at the moment?’