Ordinary Time Week 31: Thursday

“So to them he addressed this parable...” (Luke 15:3)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“St. Luke did not idly present three parables in a row. By the parables of the sheep that strayed and was found, the coin which was lost and was found, and the son who was dead and came to life, we may cure our wounds, being encouraged by a threefold remedy. “A threefold cord will not be broken.” Who are the father, the shepherd and the woman? They are God the Father, Christ and the church. Christ carries you on his body, he who took your sins on himself. The church seeks, and the Father receives. The shepherd carries. The mother searches. The father clothes. First mercy comes, then intercession, and third reconciliation. Each complements the other. The Savior rescues, the church intercedes, and the Creator reconciles. The mercy of the divine act is the same, but the grace differs according to our merits. The weary sheep is recalled by the shepherd, the coin which was lost is found, the son retraces his steps to his father and returns, guilty of error but totally repentant.”

Let us rejoice that the sheep that had strayed in Adam is lifted on Christ. The shoulders of Christ are the arms of the cross. There, I laid down my sins. I rested on the neck of that noble yoke. The sheep is one in kind, not in appearance, because “we are all one body” but many members. It is written, “You are the body of Christ, and members individually.” “The Son of man came to seek and save what was lost.” He sought all, because “as in Adam all men die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 7)

Almighty and merciful God,
by whose gift Your faithful offer You
right and praiseworthy service,
grant, we pray,
that we may hasten without stumbling
to receive the things You have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen