TUESDAY, MARCH 15TH
A TIME FOR A STORY
Today we come to Jesus for our Tuesday parable. Jesus rubs his chin, deep in thought, remembering a moment. He then begins to speak to us…
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to me. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So I told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:1-7, NRSV revised*)
Reflect on this story for a few minutes. Where do you belong in this story – do you feel like the shepherd today, or the sheep, or the friends and neighbors? Are you concerned for someone who seems lost these days? Do you feel lost yourself? Or are you feeling as I am, longing for community after this pandemic, to gather in joy with friends? What might Jesus be telling you at this time?
Have you ever felt inwardly glad when others “got what they deserved”? Or felt resentful when others “got away with something”? Asking for a friend… 😉
Yes, I was convicted of these shortcomings as I reflected on this story. I can easily forget the grace and mercy that have been shown to me, as I stand in the middle of a well-behaved flock wondering why the one who went astray is getting all the attention. I can quickly become prideful or arrogant, as I question why heaven rejoices for the one who caused all the worry and work instead of those who followed the rules.
As I stand in the fold judging the lost sheep, questioning the fairness of Jesus, I suddenly see that I am the one who is lost. I am the one who can be apt to quickly judge, seek retribution, or desire recognition. Some sheep get lost out of innocence or ignorance; I can get lost when I know better.
And yet today, my mentor Jesus tells me that we are all important to him. His message is for all of us: We are his beloved. Whether we are the seeker, or the lost, or the flock, we can gain new perspectives from this story. At any time, we could be the one to seek the lost. We could be the one who is relieved to know we are being sought. We could be part of a faithful community, ready to rejoice at another’s homecoming.
We can be grateful that, wherever we stand in the story, Jesus is always leading us home.
*The name of Jesus and his pronouns have been adapted by Karen into first-person.