I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Reflection for Sunday September11, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 15:1-32

Gospel: Luke 15:1-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.  When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.  And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.

The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.
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A newly-elected president from a faraway country had the shock of his life. When he discovered that almost fifthly percent of his country’s population was hooked on heroine and other illegal drugs.   So he called for an emergency meeting of all of his government department heads. And the president told them, “Let us create a comprehensive program the will take care and rehabilitate these drug addicts.”

After five years the government of this president was successful in eliminating the drug menace of his country. The former drug addicts that his government rehabilitated were back on their feet; some were productively working. Some were volunteers in their respective communities and many became very successful in their field of interest.

When the term of this president was about to end, these former drug addicts pooled whatever meager resources that they have to sponsor a nationwide paid advertisement to thank him for nurturing them and for not giving-up on them.  Because according to them they were once upon a time were lost but this humble and caring president did not give-up on them.

Through parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son Jesus in the gospel for this Sunday speaks about the not giving-up with the lost ones. Jesus teaches us not to give up on them no matter how sinful they are.

How many times have we given-up on the lost ones? We think about them as discards and scourges of society that they are not useful anymore. We therefore give up on them, this is who many of us are: We give up on the lost and we treat them as good for nothing!

But that is not what Jesus is teaching us in this gospel, What Jesus is teaching us is not to give up on the lost ones. Jesus is telling us that instead of giving up on those who are lost we should instead patiently look for them. For they still can be found, they still can be rehabilitated and they still are very much capable of straightening their ways if we will not give up on them.

Do you easily give up on those who are lost? Those who are unproductive and wayward members of your family? Are you forgiving and patient enough to help them get back on their feet again? -  Marino  J. Dasmarinas   

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