Dear brothers and sisters,
“But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.”
On the way to Jerusalem, our Lord stops to dine with us and serve us a feast of choice food from heaven. All three parables in today’s gospel nourish us with the wonderful news that the Father whom we constantly separate ourselves from sends His only Son to come and help us turn back to Him and be reconciled with Him.
Like the Pharisees and scribes to whom our Lord addresses these famous parables, we too often question why the God whom we so often betray and from whom we just take and run is so bent on running after us, and when He catches up with us, would even dine with us.
How often we, as a nation, are not too dissimilar from the newly formed nation of Israel in the first reading, how we very quickly disown the God who has freed us from the life of slavery to sin and death in Egypt and turn to new forms of slavery and become depraved all over again.
How often we, as individuals, are not too different from St. Paul in today’s second reading. We can be blinded by a false sense of God and His justice and go about persecuting everyone else for their sins and apostasy.
Yet, it is for us precisely, in our own ignorance and depravity, God has sought out and finding us, places us on His shoulders and carries us back Home.
We are the lost ones whom He has lit a lamp for and swept the earth to find. We are the ones who, after running away with all our gifts that we have inherited from Him and squandered in a life of dissipation, He welcomes when we come to our senses and return to Him.
It is by His incarnation, suffering and death on the cross that God has come to carry us with our crosses, suffer with us the consequences of our sins, entered into our deaths of isolation from the Father and each other.
On the third day, He rises with us, reconciling us to His Father. Arriving home, He has us clothed with the robe of His very own divine nature, placing on our fingers the ring of the firstborn and the sandals of the truly free children of God. – Fr. Simi.