Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary 488. Phil. 3:3-8. Psalm 105:2-3.4-5.6-7. Luke
We all have heard that St. Luke is an evangelist, a theologian, a historian
and an artist. Today we see that Jesus,too, is an artist in the pictures
he paints with his words. This is evident in his use of practical scenes
given in his parables that we can easily “picture” in our own minds. They
are meant to be teachings for the listener and believer and we can grow in
our appreciation not only of their artistic touch but also in their
profound message for the good of our wellbeing and spiritual life. Today
Jesus paints two of those pictures for us; one gives us the image of a
young good shepherd; the other of a diligent woman searching for a lost
silver coin. She had ten of these coins. So let us see what happens when
she finds the one she lost.
The Gospels are given the place of honor in the Churches just as the Torah
is given that priority in the Synagogue. We learn from the Evangelists the
messages of God given to us through Jesus his only begotten Son. Luke the
Evangelist has some of the most sensitive “pictures” of Jesus through the
mercy parables and those of reconciliation that he frames with his own way
of painting through narrative skills that are quite artistic. He frames the
two paintings or parables that we look at today within God’s mercy to
sinners and those in need of repentance and conversion. A theme of joy
pervades the narrative and Luke invites us to take our time to look at the
picture parables of Jesus.
The first picture is that of a young shepherd going out from his flock to
find the one stray sheep that has wandered away and is now lost from the
watchful eyes of the shepherd. Early Christian art took up this parable
picture and put the young shepherd as beardless. He is carrying a sheep on
his shoulders, thus the shepherd has found the lost one. The catacombs
preserve this image (Catacomb of St. Callistus outside the walls of Rome
along the Appian Way). We get the point as we listen to the last part of
the frame that Luke has affixed to this image.
Luke attaches a parable about a woman who loses a silver coin and then
frenetically sweeps, searches, and clears things to find the lost coin.
She does find it and then in her joy throws a party for her friends. It is
a wonderful homely picture but has meaning for all who take the time to
look at it both as a picture and a parable.
Jesus himself is the framework for the meaning of the parable: “I tell you,
there will be the same kind of joy before the angels of God over one
repentant sinner.” We, therefore, are led to thank God for the many times
we have been forgiven. We rejoice about God’s merciful and kindness and
love that assures us of our forgiveness. We thank God for the gift of the
sacrament of Reconciliation. Amen.