Reflection on the Gospel-24th Sunday in Ordinary Time C (Luke 15:1-32)

All three parables in today’s gospel invite us into the experience of loss: loss of a valued creature; loss of the means of survival; loss of an adult child’s respect and presence. All three parables likewise invite us into an encounter with a God who seeks and ‘saves’ what is lost. The parables are prefaced by an account of the criticism Jesus endured for hosting ‘the lost’, the toll collectors and the ‘sinners’. The critics are those who consider themselves ‘righteous’. They have no room in their hearts for compassion or forgiveness on the one hand, and no capacity on the other to accept the goodness of a prophet who acts in ways that cut across their expectations.