3 Parables Reveal Nature of God
Young Yusef was an angry man. He had no smile on his face. There is a reason for all this. He grew up in a Christian minority, Middle East. His family tried to live their faith heroically as a witness to all others. Maybe because of that, his family was being destroyed by some fundamentalists. As a young boy Yousef survived all sorts of persecution. What is left to him was his younger brother and his care. He struggled with his Christian faith, especially its idea of mercy and forgiveness.
It is easy to speak about the ideals of biblical values, but allowing them to confront us every day and every moment of our life is a tough ask. Today’s three parables that Jesus addressed to Jewish leadership give us the idea of God, who as a lavish father, has infinite love and mercy to all. Young Yusef doesn’t understand this God yet. It is hard for him to abandon himself in the hands of this God for whom his family offered themselves as a sacrifice. But he follows his family’s faith, hoping that one day he will find answers to all his struggles and find joy in this God.
In all three parables God is shown as throwing big parties for people. God knows how to celebrate. For Him, every human person is very important for they all bear His own image. He loves them all for His own name’s sake. These parables tell us that our salvation is not a reward for our achievements, but rather, a gift of God’s love and mercy.
Jesus was questioned by the Jewish leaders for feasting with the sinners. The Rabbis used to say, “Let no one ever go with the wicked, not even to try and convince them to follow the law of God.” They saw Jesus breaking all their traditions and feasting with the ‘publicans and sinners’. These parables, therefore, are not given to His disciples but to the self-righteous religious leaders, to offer them a good lesson on the nature of God.
In the first two parables, we see the concern of the shepherd upon losing one of his sheep and the anxiety of the lady upon losing the silver coin. These things were very valuable to them; the joy of finding these precious lost things was exaggerated in the scripture to explain the heart of God. God celebrates the salvation of every individual. By feasting with sinners, Jesus tells us that He has come for the salvation of all. Knowing the joy of God when we are saved, Jesus prays for all of us – even from the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 24:34). –
-Father Ranjan D’Sa OCD