How The Lord Value Each of Us

Weekly Missionary Reflection
24th Sunday in ordinary time, 11 September 2022

Exo. 32:7-11,13-14; Ps. 51:3-4,12-13,17,19; 1Tim. 1:12-17; Luk. 15:1-32 (long) or Luk. 15:1-10 (short)

A story about the “lost” three: sheep, coin, and son. There is a search from the owner. Joy happens when they are found. Jesus wants to defend and emphasize His mission: “The Son of Man comes to seek and save what is lost” (Luk. 19:10). The story begins with the complaints from the Pharisees and the scribes because Jesus welcomes the sinners and tax collectors. Then the story ends with the words from the father to the angry older son because of his father’s wisdom in treating the sinned “younger son”. It is not difficult to see the similarity between the Pharisees/scribes and the older son. Both have had a “standard” concept of salvation: they think they know how the Father should act! God’s justice should be according to their standard justice which has been believed for a long time! God can not step “out of the frame”: sinners must be punished, and the righteous should be blessed. A midrash from these religious even says: “no one should welcome the sinners, even to bring them to the Law!” The point is: no need to seek the sinners. Let them go away, religion must be free from such people!

Jesus has another point of view: the sinners must be found. Jesus presents the loving God who is busy finding the sinners. His mission is described as a shepherd: seeking one lost sheep, although he has to leave the 99 for a while. The Shepherd is willing to take the risk to find the lost one. Jesus’ ministry is also described as a woman who carefully searched for her single lost coin. How the Lord values each of us!. Every soul is precious to Him, Jesus will not hesitate to eat with the sinners. He presents God who accepts all men without prejudice. For the Pharisees: God should be defended against the sinners. His holiness must be protected from unclean things and people. For Jesus, humans should be protected from any label and prejudice which hinder them to encounter God, the Father. God’s holiness should be expanded: shared with as many people as possible, at no cost.

Today’s good news is really encouraging. You and I are always on Jesus’ list of things “to be found”: the list of people to be found and saved by Him. God is the “never gone” Father: keeps on waiting for our returning back, without counting how many times we have gone. He even keeps on seeking to bring us back to be His precious children. Thus, today’s Gospel is not about the “Prodigal Son”, but about the “Prodigal Love”: God’s prodigal love to His children who love to “run away” from Him! The faith in this God’s love invites you and me to stop being the Pharisees who love to see others’ sin rather than their own flaw and keep distance from the neighbor for the sake of their holiness and dignity. We are called to present God who is searching and approaching everyone, especially the sinners, and be joyful and happy when finding and being found by the lost.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church this month:

For the purpose of Universal Churches: Death sentence abolishment
We pray that the death sentence against human’s dignity could be officially abolished in all countries.

For the purpose of Indonesian Churches intention: Avoid the dependence on gadgets
We pray so that we can consciously avoid excessive dependence on gadgets.

Amen

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