The Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son
With insights on the Sunday Gospel Readings from the Revelations to Maria Valtorta
Year C September 15, 2013
24th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-32
Other Readings: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19; 1 Timothy 1:12-17
I. From the Evangelical Catholic Study Bible and the Poem of the Man-God:
Jesus told this Parable of the Lost Sheep specifically for the Magdalene, whom He knew was present, though hidden from view. Korazim, at Fount Creek at dusk: The Poem II,232/p.499
Luke 15:1 NOW the publicans and sinners drew near to Jesus to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This Man receives sinners, and eats with them. 3 So Jesus spoke to them this parable, saying: 4 What man among you who has a hundred sheep, and if he should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in a deserted place, and go after that which was lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, does not lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing? 6 And coming home, does not call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? 7 I say to you that just as certainly there shall be joy in Heaven upon one sinner who repents, more than upon ninety-nine righteous who need no repentance! [Jesus speaks of leaving the ninety-nine sheep alone in a deserted place, which, while it speaks of loneliness, also speaks of a place safe from thieves or wolves. When we sometimes feel neglected by the Lord while others are getting the attention, we need to remember this kind of divine care!]
Jesus tells this Parable of the Lost Coin to those scandalized by the Magdalene’s presence with Him, and with the Disciples and other women disciples in Mary’s home town just after her conversion. In the poor district in Magdala: The Poem II,240/p.541
Luke 15:8 Or what woman having ten drachmas, if she loses one drachmai [a day’s wage], does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, does not call together her friends and neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the drachmai which I had lost? 10 So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God over one sinner repenting.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son. In Lazarus’ house in Bethany The Poem II,205/p.338
Luke 15:11 And Jesus said: A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falls to me [by inheritance]. So he divided unto them both his substance. 13 And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went away into a distant country and there wasted his substance, living riotously. 14 And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 And so he went and joined himself [as a slave] to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him to his farm to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the carob pods the swine did eat, for no man gave anything to him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said: How many hired servants are there in my father’s house that abound with bread, and I am perishing here with hunger. 18 I will arise, and will go to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you! 19 I am not worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants. 20 And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. And running to him fell upon his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before you. I am not now worthy to be called your son. 22 And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet! 23 And bring here the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry, 24 because this my son was dead, but has come to life again! He was lost, but is now found! And they began to make merry.
25 Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and drew near the house he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him: Your brother has come and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him back safe and sound. 28 And the older son was angry and would not go in. His father, therefore, coming out began to plead with him. 29 And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years did I serve you, and I have never disobeyed your commands and yet you have never given me [even] a kid to make merry with my friends! 30 But as soon as this your son has come, who has devoured his substance with harlots, you have killed for him the fatted calf! 31 But the father said to him: Son, you have always been with me [and even now you are with me!], and all I have is yours. 32 But it was proper that we should make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead and is come to life again! He was lost, and is now found!
Jesus tells this parable to comfort the deeply grieving soul of Lazarus, who has yet to see his sister Mary moved by Jesus’ ministry and witness. After the parable, Jesus tells Lazarus, “That is what will happen to the dear soul you are awaiting. God’s bounty has no limits.”
II. From the Rest of the Gospel Story and the Poem of the Man-God:
The Parable of the Lost Sheep. The Poem 232/p.499
After sundown: Jesus is speaking at Fount Creek and Mary of Magdala is there, hiding behind a hillock. Knowing Mary is there, Jesus makes a most moving and compassionate plea for her love and trust in the parable of the Lost Sheep, of which the Scripture gives only the briefest excerpts. Mary, profoundly moved, enters the door of redemptive grace, weeping tears of joy and relief because she knows Jesus is speaking of her. Martha, not having seen her sister at Fount Creek, is terribly distressed, and goes back to Magdala some three miles down the coast to search for her. Mary herself finally arrives back in Magdala filled with peace and joy, to the great relief and joy of Martha. They spend most of the night in each other’s arms in ecstatic joy. As Mary falls asleep, Martha cannot not wait until sunup, so that very night (morning) she heads back to Capernaum, some three miles to tell Jesus everything.
[NOTE: Judas Iscariot also heard that message, which was just as much for him as it was for Mary, but there was in him an altogether different response.]
The Parable of the Lost Coin. The Poem 240/p.541
In the poor district of Magdala (8 miles) with Mary Magdalene, Jesus tells the parable of The Lost Coin to the amazed and curious crowd from Magdala that followed them. Jesus is helping Mary face those who knew her in her past life.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Poem 205/p.338
In Bethany: With Lazarus present and his sister Mary of Magdala in mind (as well as John of Endor), Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. The day before, Jesus had promised Lazarus that He would bring his sister back to him and Martha. After the parable, and in private, Jesus says to Lazarus, “In this parable the younger son repented, and the same thing will happen to the dear soul you are waiting for.” Judas Iscariot finally comes back, in desolation for some deep moral failure, having been with his “friends” for over a week and having missed even the Passover feast.