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AHC C Rejoice With Me Ord. 24 - Hebrew Catholics

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Rejoice With Me

Ordinary 24     Year C

A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
www.hebrewcatholic.org.nz

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St Luke 15: 1 — 15

 

Introduction

By way of explanation, the Lectionary reading for this Sunday’s Gospel is actually
Luke 15: 1 — 32. Our reflection deals only with verses 1 — 10 as the rest is the portion often called “Our Prodigal Father” which we commented on earlier in Year C.

Over the past 10 weeks we have been meditating on the qualities Jesus demands of those who follow Him. We pause this week to reflect on the ‘Gospel within the Gospel’ — the message of pardon and reconciliation.

Setting

It is clear from various accounts that the Pharisees treated Jesus as a fellow rabbi. However they were uncomfortable with His interest in outcasts — it was they felt, unbecoming for such a person. In the Old Testament, God required a certain discretion about such matters, but among some, it became a pious fad to widen the separation. This is always a temptation for religious peoples. Most of us, in fact, also draw lines about contact with undesirables. It is so very human, and sometimes even necessary for our protection.

In this passage, Jesus takes on the challenge to broaden the view of his rabbi acquaintances. As usual He uses the material of the moment to lift their sights to God.

In the two parables which are our text, we are blessed with a unique insight into God’s mind and heart. They give us new perspectives of mercy: searching out and rejoicing.

Click here for a printable copy of the text

 

Some Reflections On Our Text

Verse 1 and 2

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to
listen to him,

but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

The scene opens with the constant coming and going of “tax-collectors” and “sinners” who enjoyed accepting the hospitality of Jesus. For those who saw their role as setting the standards for society, it was bad enough that He was sometimes seen accepting their hospitality. But, here, He really is thought to be going too far by allowing the (so-called) riff-raff to come and go as they please, enjoying His open hospitality.

Verse 3

So to them he addressed this parable.

Our Lord, understanding their good intentions but exaggerated sense of self-importance, goes to very great lengths to help them understand His position. Clearly, He does not think He is wasting His time — at least some of them must be open to receiving what He wants to convey. So He tells them a parable in two parts.

Verse 4 — 6

“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
neighbours and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have
found my lost sheep.’

Part one puts before them the scene in which any one (or each) of them has a hundred sheep and discovers he is missing one. Jesus, without patronising them, demonstrates His confidence in each of them and suggests they would stop at nothing to search the whole countryside until they found their sheep. Nothing would be too much trouble. Indeed, when they found it, they would not hesitate to put it on their shoulders and carry it home. And then Jesus suggests, being bubbling over with gratitude, they would invite all around to rejoice and celebrate.

Whether or not each of His listeners would act in this way, He has graciously assumed the very best of them; and conveyed the fact that since that is what was needed, He feels certain they would do it!

Leaving the language of a parable He then makes a personal declaration in His own name:

Verse 7

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.

Yet again Our Lord chooses to display an order of values which is opposite to the world’s. He also gives us a little glimpse into Heaven and illustrates how closely the Heavenly Host are associated with the outworking of the Messiah’s mission. Now that is worth pausing and reflecting on for a moment.

Verse 8 and 9

“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
neighbours and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have
found the coin that I lost.’

Jesus completes His parable with the scene of a woman losing a coin somewhere in the house. She literally turns the whole house upside down until it is found. She also cannot contain her gratitude and excitement — she must share and celebrate with everyone she loves.

People who are drawn into the life-giving teaching of our Lord, either through reading the Sacred Scriptures, or hearing the teaching of the Church, often display this kind of “unstoppable” zeal. Clearly, it is a reflection of the joy He too experiences when people seek after Him and respond with overflowing gratitude.

Verse 10

In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among
the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Jesus adds a second reference to the excitement experienced in Heaven among the angels when even just one person turns to God. (Vesre 7).

This is a very devout Hebrew way of implying that it is God who cannot contain his excitement over the return of a lost one — and when that happens the whole of heaven reverberates with the rejoicing.

 

Conclusion

One gets the feeling that Christians sometimes react to statements such as verse 2 about Scribes and Pharisees muttering criticism of Jesus with a “They’re picking on him again” attitude. Jesus was totally at home in the rough-tough stuff of rabbinic debate. He gave as good as He got and thrived on it! If we read between the lines in the Gospels, and this week’s reading is an excellent example, our Lord is well aware that elitism occurs in all cultures and He sure wants His Church to avoid it. We see Him here in this little snapshot, trying His utmost to appeal to the best in His critics. Some of them, surely, heard the real core of His message:

•     “Won’t you venerable elders rejoice with me that the crooks
      and undesirables of our society are actually coming to my
      talks because they want to learn? Does that not warm your
      hearts?”

•     “Isn’t the real test of whether one loves the Torah, God’s Holy
      Law, whether one rejoices when the lost come and repent?”

•     “Are not the true members of God’s household those who share
      and echo God’s rejoicing?”

•     Do you not realise that God’s love for the careless, the failures
      of society, and the non-conformers cannot be any less intensive
      than that for the virtuous or those who are simply different
      from the majority?

•     Are you not aware that God actively seeks to bring people — all
      kinds of people — back to a warm, loving relationship with Him?
      That He will go to any length, and He will leave no stone unturned
      to seek out those who need help?

•     Will you not focus on the mercy and lovingkindness of God
      instead of your own self?

We need not be in any doubt. His message has obviously made its mark amongst His immediate audience — but of course, they were not the only ones for whom this message was given.

 

Shalom!

 

Further Reading

For those who would like a detailed study resource on
the readings for Sunday, please visit:

Agape Bible Study — 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

If you require only the section on the Gospel reading,
just scroll down the page.
 
To view all the material on the Agape website please visit:

www.agapebiblestudy.com

 This website is highly recommended:
 

Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature

 (Mark 16: 15)

 The real Jesus is the real answer to the real needs of the world.

 Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and in doing so,
  remain close to Him. The following are only examples illustrating how you
can note the gems the Holy Spirit highlights for your on-going reflection.

Rejoice With Me

Ordinary 24     Year C          St. Luke 15: 1 — 10
 

1. To the modern mind, time = money! If one sheep in a hundred
gets left behind, it is more efficient financially to leave it and get
on with what will bring greater income. Jesus Messiah gives us a
very different scale of values. If a shepherd will go to such lengths
to find and bring home one lost sheep, how much more will He do
— having been sent as Messiah for the purpose — to find those
who are spiritually lost, and — somehow! — bring them home
safely.

2. The woman who searched for her lost coins until she found
them, was concerned for her livelihood — not just owning coins.
It was life or death for her, and thus the level of celebration,
when she found them, was that of overflowing gratitude to God.

3. Our Lord — Yeshua, our Messiah — emphatically informs His
listeners, that when anyone responds to the Messiah’s mission to
search out the spiritually needy, God Himself is so excited that the
whole of Heaven reflects His joy, of which there is no like!

Let us pray for one another, that in our private prayer, our
Scripture study and meditation, as well as our public worship, we
will welcome the overflowing sense of God’s presence as He
shares His own joy with us with us.

         Blessed be HaShem #: blessed be His Holy Name!

 Shalom!

 #  Ha Shem — the Name: a polite reference to God.

Click here for a printable copy of these Reflections

 

Luke 15: 1 — 10

Ordinary 24      Year C

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE

 

1     1 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to
       listen to him,

2     but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
       “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3     So to them he addressed this parable.

4     “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?

5     And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with
       great joy

6     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.’

7     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.

8     “Or what woman having ten coins 2 and losing one would not
       light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until
       she finds it?

9     And when she does find it, she calls together her friends
       and neighbours and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because
       I have found the coin that I lost.’

10   In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among
       the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

1 [1-32] To the parable of the lost sheep ( Luke 15:1-7) that Luke shares with Matthew ( Matthew 18:12-14), Luke adds two parables (the lost coin, Luke 15:8-10; the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32) from his own special tradition to illustrate Jesus’ particular concern for the lost and God’s love for the repentant sinner.

2 [8] Ten coins: literally, “ten drachmas.” A drachma was a Greek silver coin.

 

     Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised
       edition (c) 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine,
       Washington D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner.
       All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced
       in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

 

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