“all in the family”
“But you, how can you sit in judgment on your brother? Or you, how can you look down on your brother?” —Romans 14:10
Have you heard the old joke: “When is a door not a door?” Answer: “When it is ‘ajar.’ ” All over the world today, people will ask a similar question: “When is a person not a person?” In many cases, the answer will be: “When they are a rapist, a murderer, a bum, a fetus, a nursing home patient, a homeless person, a prostitute, etc.”
In today’s Gospel parables, Jesus talks about a lost sheep and a lost silver piece. In both situations, it is obvious to all that the lost article still has worth and value. Moreover, the sheep and the coin are consistently referred to as “sheep” and “silver piece,” whether they are in a state of being lost or in their rightful place.
Luke follows today’s parables with the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32). This time, a person is lost. Now that people are involved, there is suddenly a colossal identity crisis. It’s no longer obvious that the lost person has any worth. The younger son no longer sees himself as son, but as slave (Lk 15:18-19). The elder brother calls the lost person “his father’s son” (see Lk 15:30) rather than “my brother”; he also forgets his own identity and calls himself a slave rather than a son (Lk 15:29). Only the father sees the true relationships. He calls both boys “sons” (Lk 15:24, 31) and tells them that they are “brothers” (see Lk 15:32).
Jesus is telling us that just as a coin and a sheep do not cease being coins and sheep, so people are still God’s precious children no matter what their status. “Dearly beloved, we are God’s children now” (1 Jn 3:2).
Prayer: Abba, thank You for adopting me. I love being Your child, and I will love all of Your children (1 Jn 5:1).
Promise: “Both in life and in death we are the Lord’s.” —Rm 14:8
Praise: St. Charles was born into luxury and received a “trust fund.” But Charles heard God and asked his father to give most of the money to the poor.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: "In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat for the publication One Bread, One Body covering the time period from October 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021. Reverend Steve J. Angi, Vicar General, Chancellor, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio April 14, 2021"
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.