Things Lost and Found - Frank Crosio

One of my favorite parables is the story of the Prodigal Son. It is the Gospel reading for
the Fourth Sunday of Lent in this year’s lectionary cycle. Like many people here at
GCCC, I was brought up in the Roman Catholic church. In that faith tradition, the
Fourth Sunday of Lent is a day of rejoicing marking the halfway point in our Lenten
journey. The same rose-colored vestments and paraments used on the Third Sunday of
Advent (The Sunday we light the pink candle) are likewise used on the Fourth Sunday
of Lent.
In that spirit of rejoicing let’s consider the three parables Jesus offers in Luke Chapter
15. Jesus tells these stories in answer to the Pharisees and Scribes who wonder why
Jesus welcomes tax collectors and sinners to hear Him and be in His company.
In the parables three things are lost and then found again: a sheep, a coin, and a son.
In the first two parables the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep behind to search for
the one that is lost, and the woman lights a lamp and sweeps the house to find the one
missing silver coin. In both cases everything else stops and life stubbornly refuses to
continue until these situations are made right. When both sheep and coin are safely
recovered, Jesus compares the rejoicing of the shepherd and the woman to the
rejoicing that takes place in heaven when one lost sinner repents.
In the final parable, when the lost son, realizing the mistakes he has made, returns
home, his father sees him from afar and runs out to meet him. He can barely contain his
joy long enough to listen to his son’s apology before ordering the servants to begin
preparations for the rejoicing and celebration. For his son who was dead is alive, who
was lost has been found.
So many brilliant writers and artists, including Henri Nouwen, whose writing are being
considered in a class offered this Lent, have written or painted about this wonderful
story that it hard to add anything new. But here are some of my thoughts:
The Lenten season offers us an opportunity for mending fences, for fixing the parts of
our lives that are broken whatever they may be. What can I make right this Lent?
Sometimes you have to lose something temporarily to realize what an important and
valuable place it has in your life. And sometimes you have to work really hard to find it
again. But there will be great joy when it is found.
At different times in our lives each of us will have occasions to be like the son asking for
forgiveness, and like the father offering forgiveness to someone who hurt or wronged us
in some way. Both are occasions for rejoicing!
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved and set me free. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see."