In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus told three parables. In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, He spoke of a shepherd who would leave ninety-nine sheep to search for one who is lost. In the Parable of the Lost Coin, He spoke of a woman who loses a coin, and upon finding it, she spends most, if not all of it, on a party celebrating the found coin.
In these two parables, the shepherd and the woman behave in an unconventional way. By leaving ninety-nine sheep behind, the shepherd risks losing even more sheep. But he would rather risk the loss in order to find the lost sheep. The woman who finds the coin spends even more to celebrate. Their behaviour is absurd. Our Heavenly Father's love is absurd and unexplainable.
In the third parable that Jesus spoke of, the Prodigal Son, God's love for us is even more evident. No father in the ancient world would ever tolerate such irreverence and insolence from the younger son. The father not only divided the property to his sons, when the younger son went back, he ran to his son and embraced him. Running was considered beneath the dignity of a nobleman since it would imply he was either a slave on an errand or a fugitive running. Further, in order for a person to run in the ancient world, they had first to gird the loins of their garments. But for a nobleman to show his legs was considered an indignity. This father debased and humbled himself for the prodigal son. Does he deserve this love? No
Likewise, Our Merciful Father would rather sacrifice His Son for us. His love is so great that we cannot comprehend. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. Let us dwell in His love, in which we find strength to face life's challenges.
Crazy! A Homily for the 24th Sunday of the Year