“A man had two sons…”
With these simple words, Luke begins the telling of what some might say is the most beloved of all the parables of Jesus. Both Matthew and Luke tell the “Parable of the Lost Sheep” who wanders away from the flock, with the Good Shepherd leaving the ninety-nine to find the one… But Luke follows that story up with the “Parable of the Lost Coin”, and the “Parable of the Lost Son”, or the “Prodigal Son.” Together, these stories comprise chapter 15 of Luke’s gospel, which is given over to Jesus responding to those who were complaining about sinners. More precisely, they were complaining that Jesus was spending time with and eating with sinners.
In Luke’s gospel, it seems clear that tax collectors and sinners, as well as the Pharisees and scribes, were coming to Jesus to listen to him. Sinners were seeking Jesus out presumably because for them, his words and his actions were “good news” indeed. The scribes and Pharisees, however, took fault with Jesus. One can only speculate that their concern was related to their ideas of “worthiness” or of “purity.” However, Luke’s gospel makes it very clear that Jesus is intent on reaching out to the hearts and minds of many here at Lourdes who have come to know him in his 25 years of service among us. As many are aware, he has been struggling with health issues for some time now. During my visit, we shared stories of the parish goings-on, we chatted, we prayed together, we shared a few laughs, and we celebrated the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Fr. John asked me to invite your prayers for him. His ability to entertain visitors is very limited. I assured him we have been and will continue praying for him. He also asked me to share that he continues to hold all of us in his prayers. Continuing to honor his request for privacy and for prayer, I invite you to join with me in praying for his well-being and in sending him our best wishes. In Stroup Hall, after all masses today, you are invited to sign a get-well card which we’ll deliver in the coming days.