Jesus tells three parables in Sunday’s gospel, ending with the story of the prodigal son.
“My son, you are with me always, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found.”
The parables in this Sunday’s gospel are about losses—a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son—and about celebrations for the found sheep, the found coin, and for the returning repentant child. The longest parable is about a father’s losing not only the son who leaves home but also the son who has been distant for far too long and whose resents consume him when his brother returns.
On one level in these stories, Jesus is telling his critics and us that in our judgment of others or when we are most critical of ourselves, we are missing the reality that God’s love and forgiveness transcend anything that they or we may have done or said. On another level, Jesus affirms that experiences of loss, of grief, and of powerlessness may be precisely the ones that lead us to new awarenesses and new reasons for gratitude.
What have you learned about yourself, about others, and about God from your experiences of loss?
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