Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them." So he told them this parable: "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
"Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:1-10
I have not been able to write my blog for several days now. I have been to my mother's house one last time to help my siblings clean out and take precious items out before the estate person gets to work. It is holy and painful work, looking over a life time of memories and objects, both precious and silly, and remembering the love that brought us to this place.Despite the fact that my mother is lost to us in the flesh, and the home we all knew for so long is to be sold, there is still great joy in finding and remembering the love which lasted through generations, through wars and terrible tragedies, through plenty and want, through sickness and health and everywhere in between. We are the blessed recipients of love that had no bounds and which gave every ounce of human effort for the sake of others.
Jesus is being criticized for hanging out with low-lifes. He welcomed the riff-raff and the broken, the hurting and the sinful. His human love was like that - it had no bounds and gave every ounce of human efforts for the sake of others. He did not seek the people on the hill, the cloistered, those who lived in gated communities and the secure. He sought out and made friends with those who were on the margins, least likely to succeed and those known for their mistakes only. We are invited today to follow his example.
Today I ask God to give me the courage to seek out the friendless and the needy. May we all open out tables and our homes to those who have been cast out and rejected. And may we see God's love in their eyes and we learn to know it in our own.