New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 19: Year C
1 Timothy 1:12-17 and Luke 15:1-10
“Just so, I tell you, there is (and will be) joy over finding what was lost.” (Luke 15)
I call Chapter 15 of Luke the “Lost Chapter.” Not because it is missing but because it is about the lost. We have the lost sheep, then the lost coin and then it concludes with the lost son.
What is significant is that this chapter teaches us that sometimes we don’t appreciate and celebrate what we have while we have it. But boy, let it get lost! Whether it’s a sheep, a coin, our glasses, our keys, our job, our money, or even a human relationship, what we have lost is felt deeply and we want it back. What is being celebrated in this Luke reading is the getting back to normal. It is celebrating the experience of not having lost anything in the first place. It is celebrating “the way it was.”
So therefore, we should treasure all we have even if it’s very little. We, in our prayers, should continually give God thanks for the benefits bestowed upon us and remember, it is not ourselves that made manifest our possessions, but God. The greatest riches we have are our relationships with others, family and friends. We need to be thankful for these relationships and celebrate them all the time, not just when, and if, we get them back.
Today we remember the tragedy of Nine-Eleven. This was the evil and intentional act of aircraft crashing into the World Trade Centers in New York, and in Pennsylvania, and into the Pentagon. We suffered great loss. We can add to our list of loss the health illusion we had before the Covid pandemic. From most of the losses of these two events, we are finding our way back. Can we realize how good we had it before the terrorist attack and the virus?
From the perspective of the lost, it is about re-membering. It is about finding what was lost. Sometimes we must find ourselves. Sometimes we have to be found by another. Either way, getting our community back, is absolutely a cause for celebration. “Just so, I tell you, there is (and will be) joy over finding what was lost.”
As I write these words, the people of Ukraine and the people of Ethiopia are trying to find their way back to safety and security. Let us keep them in our prayers.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John