Sermon Reflection and Prayer for Proper 19 (Year C) 13th Sunday after Trinity: 15 September 2019

This material was first published by Redemptorist Publications
and is included here with their permission.

Luke 15.1-10

Lost and Found

Who is really lost in this Gospel reading?  At first it seems to be the tax collectors and sinners:  the lowest of the low; loathed and avoided by all who consider themselves respectable, decent people.  But Jesus is enjoying himself with them, sharing their food (and probably wine too!)  His behaviour is really quite disgraceful and shocking to religious leaders who consider themselves above such depravity.

Then Jesus tells the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin.  He talks about a shepherd who doesn’t leave the lost sheep to fend for itself in the dangers of the wilderness.  Instead he sets off to search for the animal and bring it safely home.  He talks about the joy, and perhaps relief, of a woman who couldn’t afford to lose even one coin.

Perhaps he tells these stories from amongst the people with whom he’s having a good time.  And when, from there, he talks about joyous celebration in heaven over the finding and bringing home of a sinner it’s the Pharisees and scribes who begin to look a bit lost and uncertain, suddenly insecure and exposed.

Surely there would be rejoicing in heaven if just one Pharisee dropped his air of superiority and found a seat between two tax collectors or just one of the scribes threw aside his disapproving air and took a cup of wine from one of the sinners?  I think there would!

Prayer:   Lord Jesus, when we are lost and afraid and can’t find our way home, please come and rescue us and bring us back to safety with you.  Amen.