Thursday of the 31st Week of the Year

Luke 15:1-10

The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin

 

There must be something in Jesus that attracted the marginalized such as the tax collectors and public sinners. Aside from the content of his preaching which surely, gave hope to their persecuted lives, they began to see themselves as persons of worth, too. Jesus reached out to those around him by way of his attitude towards people. The relationship express themselves through the manner we bear our character and personal traits. In one word: ATTITUDE.

We have met people with a contagious attitude. People with whom we feel at home with because optimism is all over them. People capable of so much inspiration and motivation for the weary and the down-hearted, as they themselves are weighed down by their own inner struggles. On the other hand, there are people whose goodness ends in mere words but the way they express themselves suggests troubled inners selves. We feel uncomfortable and even tense in their presence. The attitude of Jesus reveals the source of his attraction. He was loved by the Father. He was very much aware of that. That was the source of his heart’s satisfaction and peace. That was what people, especially the unloved, the marginalized, the unwanted, perceived beyond the words Jesus preached. Jesus’ whole being expressed one thing to those people: YOU ARE BLESSED, BE HAPPY, YOU ARE LOVED.

I, too, have given thought to my own attitude towards others. Evangelization, while it requires reflected words, needs a reflected life – an experience of an interior journey into one’s heart, there to confront so many questions like, what is my life story, its joys and pains, why am I incapable of loving? (Fr. Eli mata, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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It’s rare for a sheep to do anything by itself. How did that one sheep get lost? Sheep nibble themselves astray. It’s not that they choose to get lost; rather they discover that they are lost.

We human beings are more complicated: we sometimes deliberately strike out on our own; we even think at times that it’s our very nature to be alone. And that kind of thinking even becomes fashionable in some periods of history. Sartre, who said hell is other people, was hugely popular in his time! There’s a strange contradiction there. A book on psychology that I looked at recently had all this packed into one sentence! “Man is essentially alone and lonely, and from this isolation he cannot be saved…but through the fact that he… belongs to another human being.” Ought to make up his mind! If “man” is essentially alone, then belonging to another human being must be a denial of his essence; and if he can truly belong to another human being, then he is not essentially alone.

We’re not “essentially alone.” We are social beings, but not in the way that bees or ants are social: a hive of bees or a swarm of ants behaves like one large individual. We have the capacity to be alone—to a degree. We are both social and individual: if we are essentially anything we are essentially both.

We get lost when we think we’re essentially alone. Much of psychology still has this bias, inherited from Freud. Freud’s training and background disposed him to assume a basic antagonism between individual and society.

More than ever we need a Good Shepherd who can recall us to our true nature. (Claritian 2004)

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Today in the Philippines more than ninety percent of Catholics are nominal. This is worse than KBL (Kasal, Binyag, Libing), because now many do not bother to have their children baptized; the number of Catholic partners “living in” is growing; and it is only on TV where the dead is buried with a priest assisting.

This really seems to occur in the mission areas as well as in big modern cities. For instance here in South Palawan, how many times have I administered three sacraments on the same person in one day – baptism, confirmation and marriage? How many times have I discovered that Catholics in the barrios are buried without being embalmed and without the priest?

Is it any different in the cities? The Christian Community Bible has this to say, “In large cities today, the church seems to be left with only one sheep.” It would be fitting to ask, “Who among you….will not leave the one and seek out the ninety nine ‘til he finds them?” the figure might be exaggerated, considering that many churches still overflow on Sundays. Surveys, however, reveal that a very large portion of Catholics have remained un-churched.

The gospel today challenges us, the church, to be effective missionaries. The Community Bible commentary concludes, “Why does the church not get out, namely, let go of her privileges or devotions of a commercial style, to go out looking for the ninety nine who got lost? To leave the comfortable circle of believers who have no problems and to look beyond our renewed ritual…?

The urgency of God’s kingdom pushes us to go into the deep and bring God’s goodness to those who have gone astray, gather them so that we could celebrate. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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One famous spiritual writer said that if the whole Bible were to get lost and only Chapter 15 of the Gospel of St. Luke remained and the essential message of the entire Bible would still be preserved. It’s because the three parables of Jesus in Luke 15 about the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son emphatically illustrate to us God’s inexplicable and infinite love to save every man and woman whom He created according to His image and likeness.

The first paragraph of this chapter explains to us why Jesus narrated these three parables. The Scribes and Pharisees observed that Jesus always preferred the company of “sinners,” meaning those who out of ignorance or because of a lack of proper religious formation did not observe all the 613 prescriptions and prohibitions of the Mosaic Law. Moreover, the Scribes and Pharisees who were the elite of Jewish society and considered to be the most learned and religious, observed that Jesus had frequent table or meal fellowships with these “ritually impure people.” Because of Jesus’ constant bad company, they called Him a drunkard and glutton.

With just a cursory reading of the gospels, we notice that Jesus had a very compassionate attitude towards these “sinners.” He even said that it’s not the well who need the doctor but the ill. We observe that Jesus always had a preferential option for the simple, poor, ignorant, marginalized and humble people. As proof of this, He chose His apostles not from the elite of Jewish society but from the simple folk. All of the apostles were Galileans except Judas Iscariot who was the only one from Judea. We all know that the Judeans looked down on the Galileans with contempt. Jesus discovered that these simple folk were a fertile and receptive ground for His proclamation of the Good News of God’s Kingdom.

Jesus was always gentle, understanding and compassionate with simple and humble folk but was quite harsh, blunt and severe with the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt 23). Why is this so? It’s because behind the façade of their meticulous observance of the whole Mosaic Law, there lurked in their hearts and minds satanic pride, self-righteousness and self-centeredness. Their motivation for the meticulous external observances was not really to adore and glorify Yahweh but for themselves to feel superior over and above the rest of the Jewish society; moreover, they were also convinced that by doing so, they could make God beholden to them – thus pressuring and forcing Him to give them their due recompense.

Because of these attitudes Jesus was harsh and severe with them, not because He condemned and rejected them but because He wanted to save them so they may also follow Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (Fr. Redempto Maniwang, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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It presumed it was already more than an hour that I was standing along Fifth Avenue, New York City, yet the colourful parade of that Gay Pride Day seemed endless. One particular float that caught my attention was that of a group called Dignity. On their float was Jesus as the Good Shepherd. All the sheep around Him were painted immaculately white but the lone sheep on His shoulders was painted pink. The statement is obvious – God loves gays as well.

And I agree. Jesus cares and loves them just as he loves and cares for everyone else. There is only one thing that Jesus hates. And that is sin. What a joy it is whenever one turns away from sin. And this feeling of great joy is portrayed in the shepherd who found the lost sheep and the woman who found the lost coin. They excitedly called on their friends and neighbors with whom they shared their great joy.

I remember a friend in Ecuador who promised to sponsor a lechon (roast pig) for all of us Filipinos in our next year reunion.  It was on the condition that the child in the womb of his wife will be a boy. We were already imagining his great joy when he will finally have his “junior.”

However, God’s plan was not his plan. His wife delivered a girl. We still had lechon in the said reunion, but it was lechon manok (roast chicken). (Fr. Ed Fugoso, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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November 3, 2016 Thursday

Maybe you have experienced this when you accidentally meet an old friend you have not seen for a long time. The joy of being reunited with someone important in your life and resuming a relationship that you thought was gone forever may be similar to the feeling evoked in the gospel story of finding the lost sheep and the lost coin. A sinner who repented is shown also as like something that was lost and now is found. It is definitely also a cause for joy.

In the gospel story, the one who lost the one sheep made an extraordinary effort to recover it. The woman who lost the coin also searched high and low until she found it. The effort exerted showed how valuable or how important the lost sheep or lost coin was. It is a reminder to us that when we lose someone to a life of sin, it is our duty to do our best to find that person, to lead him/her back to repentance. We may also ask ourselves when we lose someone to sin whether we have unwittingly led that person to sin by our apathy or indifference. This is what community life is: we become concerned with whatever happens to a brother or sister. We become alarmed when someone strays from the true path. We rejoice with the angels when we are able to nd that person and restore him/her to a life of grace. We are responsible for one another, and as we say, “Walang iwanan (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD CTManila Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/988-november-3-2016-thursday

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The gospel today illustrates how God is always ready to forgive a person who is sorry. God is like the good shepherd whose concern goes out toward the lost sheep. God is like the woman who has lost a valuable amount, and exerts all her effort to recover it.

We should never give up in our struggle against sin and vice. We should not give in to despair or discouragement. After we have realized our faults and miseries, we should then focus on the goodness of God, on his readiness to recover us. Like a good father, God is ready to overlook our faults, provided we turn our hearts back to Him.

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Barbara Dilly
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Romans 14:7-12
Psalm 27:1bcde, 4, 13-14
Luke 15:1-10

Daily Reflections from a Student’s Point of View

I’m getting old enough now to be considered a confidant for the older people in my family who are reflecting on their long lives and trying to make sense of them. I’ve been around long enough to know a lot about their lives in terms of their successes, their struggles, and their faithfulness to God. It is interesting to me that some of them have no bitterness against anyone and yet others have grown very judgmental. Those who are not judgmental also do not seem to fear death as much as those who are embittered about the sins of others. Some just want to remember the good times, and they have lots of them. Others spend a lot of time comparing their lives to others who didn’t measure up so well. They are critical of those who failed at business or marriage, drank or gambled, or fell away from the church. And they are afraid that even their own lives won’t measure up to God’s judgment and they fear death.

The lessons for today speak to me of this basic difference in how we as believers see our own lives and the lives of others. Some of us are more mindful of our life in the Lord as something lovely to contemplate and others of us seem to lack the courage to “see the good things of the Lord.” Some of us can better accept the sin in others because we know that Christ died and came to life for us and for our brothers and sisters. I learn much from listening to these people reflect on the good things in life. They face death with the assurance that they will continue to dwell in the house of the Lord. But some of us are afraid to accept even our own salvation. We see only the sin in others because we are burdened by the sin in ourselves. I pray most for those of us who are more focused on judgment than salvation.

Jesus reminds us in the parable of the tax collectors and sinners that he will constantly seek out those who are lost. Further, we are to rejoice with the angels of God over their repentance. I’ve shared this Gospel story as well as many other stories of God’s love and grace with elderly or terminally ill family members as I have prayed with them. And while they listen with hope and faith, for some, the fears and judgment keep returning. As I reflect on the readings for today, what I have learned from listening to older people is that we should begin early in life to develop the habits of not judging our brothers and sisters. If we learn to see the good things of the Lord and not the sins of others, I think it will make it a lot easier to wait more courageously for the Lord. And today, I am thankful for the angels of God who rejoice for the sinners among us, including myself, who repent.

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Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Lukas 15:1-10. Unsa may pagtulon-an nga atong makuha sa sambingay sa Nawalang Karnero? Ang sambingay naghulagway sa dakong gugma sa Dios alang sa mga makasasala. Sama sa maayong magbalantay nga andam mobiya sa 99 ka karnero aron pangitaon ang usa nga nahisalaag, ang Dios molihok aron sa pagkaplag sa usa ka makasasala (constantly seek out those who are lost). Ang Dios dili malipay sa kaparotan sa mga masalaypon. Buot niya nga maluwas ang tanan. Mao man gani nga magsadya ang langit sa matag usa ka makasasala nga maghinulsol. Kining sambingay magdasig kanato sa pag-ila sa atong pagkamasalaypon. Likayan gyod nato nga mahimong “self-righteous” sama sa mga Pariseo. Ang atong matinud-anong pagbasol ug pagkumpisal ikalipay pag-ayo sa Ginoo. (Fr. Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2012/11/thursday-of-31st-week-in-ordinary-time_3367.html

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

THURSDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 15:1-10. UNSA MAY ATONG MAKAT-ONAN SA SAMBINGAY SA NAWALANG KARNERO? Ang sambingay naghulagway sa dakong gugma sa Dios alang sa mga makasasala. Sama sa maayong magbalantay nga mobiya sa 99 ka karnero aron pangitaon ang usa nga nahisalaag, ang Dios molihok aron pagkaplag sa usa ka makasasala. Ang matag tawo bililhon sa Dios; gusto Niya nga maluwas ang tanan. Kining sambingay magdasig kanato sa pag-ila sa atong pagkamasalaypon. Dili na kita magsigi’g tago. Likayan nato nga mahimong “self-righteous” sama sa mga Pariseo, nga nagpakaaron-ingnon nga sila hingpit ug walay sala. Adunay panultihon nga nagkanayon, “Cover your sin, God will expose it. Confess your sin, God will cover it.” Busa, angkonon, basolan ug ikumpisal nato ang atong mga sala aron kita pasayloon sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/11/thursday-of-31st-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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WORD Today (Rom 14:7-12; Lk 15:1-10): Christ is the Good Shepherd in charge of 100 sheep. One strays away. He leaves the 99 to search for the one. Of course He makes sure the 99 are safe in the sheepfold. Before He leaves, He prays to the Father to keep them one just as He and the Father are one (John 17:11). A second parable tells of a woman in a house with 10 coins. She reminds us of Mama Mary. She is in charge of God’s household and sheepfold, the Church with the 99 treasures of Christ. In order that she may not lose any, she keeps teaching them to do whatever Christ has said (John 2:5), to love and care, instead of condemning others in the sheepfold and the one Christ is looking for (1st Reading).

Where are we today Lord? Are we rebellious outsiders or unforgiving insiders? (Fr. Iko Bajos, Nov 7, 2013).

CATECHISM a Day (Lk 15:10): “There’ll be rejoicing among God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”

FORMS OF PENANCE (CCC 1435)

Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Christ is the surest way of penance (Fr, Iko Bajos Nov 7, 2013).

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ANYTHING TO BLESS YOU – “There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – Luke 15:10

Let me share with you one extremely blessed day of my life. In the morning, I was invited to speak before seven- to 10-year-old children who were part of an international choir. Being the disciplined musicians that they were, everyone was behaved during my talk. As I preached about the love of God, I could see in their eyes the wonder of being loved by an all-powerful God. I left that place refreshed because of the purity of these little ones who serve the Lord.

In the afternoon, I went to another special service in Muntinlupa — the Maximum Security Prison. There, I gave a recollection to 400 inmates. It was the same message: the love of God. As I shared, I saw hope gleaming in their eyes. During the recollection, I felt God Himself imparting hope to each of them even if most will never be able to get out of those prison walls. Many of them had life sentences.

After my talk, the leader of the inmates asked everyone present to lay their hands on me. As they prayed, I was touched. I thought to myself, “These hands that were once used for evil are now being used to bless me in prayer.”

My friend, God can use anyone. Including you. Arun Gogna (gognuts@yahoo.com)

Reflection: Have you been holding back in being a blessing to others?

Lord, use me so that many more may know of Your love.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-11-06

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THE LEAST, THE LAST, AND THE LOST – There’s a joke about the seeming inability of the Church to be effective. The parable in today’s Gospel is reversed, i.e., only one sheep is inside the cage and the 99 outside. In the case of the coin, the woman is now looking for the nine coins while holding only one. Of course, this joke is the Church basher’s way of showing Her irrelevance and dwindling influence. But the parable was not about the ones mentioned. In fact, it was the reverse. God, through the Church, cares for all. Whether 99 or one, God still goes out of His way to look for the lost. Nobody is left behind. Later, He will die on the cross not for the holy few, but for all.

I remember how my father, no matter what time he went home at night, would still take time to visit us in our rooms to make sure that all his eight children were accounted for. While there wasn’t a time when we were incomplete, I am sure my father would not have slept until the missing ones were back. I can deduce this because, during meals, we would not say grace until everyone was seated. God is like that. He will never stop until everyone has gone back to Him.

This does not mean that those who have tried hard to obey God every day of their lives would be treated less. The response of the Father to the elder son’s question in the parable of the prodigal reverberates: “My son, you are here with Me always; everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31). Instead of dwelling on what has been given to the lost, appreciate what you have with God. Also, the probability of being the lost one rather than the one under God’s favor is greater. When that happens, are you not glad to be given another chance and be welcomed?

Many times we cannot fathom what God wants and does. Indeed, God’s ways are not man’s ways. His love is best expressed in forgiveness. Rather than analyze and criticize it, why don’t we just do it? In the end, what God wants should prevail — that all of us will be with Him. So be it! Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you treat those who are far away from the Church?

Lord, give me a heart that embraces the lost, the least, and the last. At the same time, I pray that I may never be lost from Your sight.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-11-06

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Reflection for Thursday November 6, Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 15:1-10 Reflection: What is your attitude toward the so called sinners of our society? For example if you have a brother and you perceive him to be a sinner, how do you treat him? Should you simply ignore him because you are angry with him for the many sins that he committed? Or you would build bridge to seek him out and let him know that the love of Jesus knows no bounds. That the love of Jesus is not diminished by the sins that he has committed.

There are many of us who give-up on the lost or sinners and we cannot blame ourselves for this because this is basic human nature. For example if you have a spouse who is a serial womanizer  and you have forgiven him for so many times and yet he does not change his ways. What is our natural reaction to this kind of attitude? Isn’t that our natural reaction is to raise our hands in surrender and give-up on that unrepentant spouse?

If we give-up on sinners, Jesus doesn’t give-up He will continuously seek out the lost or sinners until He finds them. And when Jesus finds them He will do everything (without questions asked) to let this sinner feel His infinite love and forgiveness.

The parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin is a showcase of the infinite love of Jesus for us. We who are all sinners, we who continue to struggle with sin. There’s hope after all for all of us sinners. And this hope is brought to us by the infinite love and mercy of Jesus. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/11/reflection-for-thursday-november-6.html

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November 03, 2016

We usually take a lot of things for granted. Take your cellphone, for example. You use it at least a dozen times a day for calls or texts, and you count on it to do exactly what it is expected to do. But suppose you lose your cellphone or somebody steals it from you. Then you realize all of a sudden how dependent on it you have become: no more quick contacts with relatives and friends, except by borrowing somebody else’s phone, and that creates quite an inconvenience! Hence your joy if, by sheer chance, you find your cellphone. Now you appreciate how enormously useful it is to you. But you had to lose it first, in order to experience this new appreciation.

The two parables contained in today’s gospel reading are based on this common human experience of being overjoyed upon finding a valued possession. Joy is the common theme connecting these two parables. Such, Jesus tells us, is God’s joy upon recovering his lost children. We, too, should rejoice to see sinners returning to God. That was the problem of the scribes and the Pharisees: they could not imagine that God could rejoice upon recovering lost sinners.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3693-november-03-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 31st Week of the Year

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