The Pharisees and scribes criticize Jesus in the Gospel today because he is spending time with people who are sinners: tax collectors, who robbed them by charging unfair taxes and serving the Romans, who were mean to them and sinners, who did bad things and did not come to worship at the Temple. So Jesus asks the Pharisees and scribes to think of how happy they would be if they lost something valuable to them and then found it again.
Imagine if you lost your spending money for this week, and after searching and searching your locker you give up and take your books to class and there it is, stuck between two books! Wouldn’t you be happy?
Imagine if you lost your cat and you searched for hours and hours and came home sad and suddenly heard him scratching at the door to be let in. Wouldn’t you be happy?
Now imagine if it were your brother or sister or aunt or someone in your family. You would never stop looking. Never. You would always be waiting to hear from them.
In Heaven God knows that sinners are lost, and he wants to find them so badly, but they hide from him and go far away from him, just like the son in the Gospel today. And just like the Father of the Prodigal Son, God waits and waits for them to come back. Our Lord teaches us that all of Heaven shouts for joy when a sinner is found and comes back and gets on the road to Heaven again. Our Lord goes to the sinners in the Gospel today because if he doesn’t help them find God the Father again they will never find him. Like the son today in the Gospel, they go far away and become poor and sad, but when they come back, sorry for what they have done, all of Heaven is happy and God takes them back in as if nothing had happened.
When we do bad things, all we have to do is say we’re sorry and ask God to forgive us. We can come to confession for the big things, and for the little things of every day, all we have to do is come to him in our hearts and tell him we’re sorry. When we hurt others, it is so hard to say we are sorry, but when we don’t, we are left poor, alone, and lonely, because it is like we have left someone in our family. The other son in the Gospel today didn’t want to forgive his brother, and look how angry and alone he was.
Let’s ask Our Lord today for the grace to always have the love and humility to say we are sorry to those we hurt by our actions, and for the grace to live like true brothers and sisters.
Readings: Exodus 32:7–11, 13–14; Psalm 51:3–4, 12–13, 17, 19; 1 Timothy 1:12–17; Luke 15:1–32. See also 4th Sunday of Lent, Cycle C, 2nd Week of Lent, Saturday, and 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.