Tuesday 25th July, 2017

 


Dear Parishioner,

Our Gospel account from St Luke 15:1-10, “Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’  So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. The Parable of the Lost Coin
Or what woman having ten silver coins if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’  is a passage that is peculiar only to him; and it belongs to a series of parables that are all unique to Luke’s theology .

In this Gospel account Luke is not just looking at the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin, which is where our Gospel message ends for today: but, Luke is also remembering those recent actions of our Lord Jesus who advocated for the bent-over woman in the synagogue on the Sabbath (see 13:10-17); those who have been talking about table manners (see 14:7-14); His teaching on the cost of being a disciple (see 14:25-33) and our Gospel for today where Jesus now finds himself in a truly mixed company (15:1-10).   Jesus has both tax-collectors and sinners coming to hear him; and the Pharisees and Scribes voicing their critique of His unholy meal practice.

The “grumbling” of the Pharisees and Scribes is pertinent to understanding the underlying conflict and the purpose of these parabolic statements.   New Testament scholar François Bovon argues that a text like this invites us not to be too “irritated by other people’s conversions.”   May be, I suspect this one hits home, especially so in an age like ours where worthiness is still disputed and someone else’s redemption is questioned.   It is necessary to be careful about the jump, since there was always a concern about who one eats with, in the Jewish tradition.  More than that, tax collectors were not just “law breakers,” but collaborators with the colonizing power of the day.

The point here is not to turn Jewish - Pharisees and scribes into eternal foils for the Christian gospel.   It is simply that Jesus was at this point, from within the Jewish tradition making it clear of the redemption of others in a different vision of the divine purpose, which is precisely how both parables conclude. This is how Luke puts it, “In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent” (15:7) and “In the same way, I tell you, the - Pharisees and scribes into eternal foils for the Christian gospel.   It is simply that Jesus was at this point, from within the Jewish tradition making it clear of the redemption of others in a different vision of the divine purpose, which is precisely how both parables conclude. This is how Luke puts it, “In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent” (15:7) and “In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents” (15:10).   

The grumbling really only makes sense after the third parable that is “The lost son” in - the Prodigal Son and his elder brother - which is not included in our Gospel reading for today.    In the construction, however, the first two parables anticipated this by making a strong theological claim. The parables started with life as lived: a shepherd loses one of a flock of sheep; a woman loses one of her ten coins.

What is described is not their “repentance” at all, but the absolute commitment of the person to find their belongings.   The shepherd left and went after his sheep; he found and laid it on his shoulders, went home, called together his friends and rejoiced. The same holds true for the woman: she lit a lamp, swept the house, searched carefully, and found it, then called together her friends and made merry as well. The parallels here show that the emphasis is on the finding.  

The point that Jesus makes here is neither lost sheep or lost coins can repent.   For Jesus, what is necessary is divine relationship and reconciliation.   This was found in the father and his lost son and it makes even the angels rejoice.   That is the full blown party that God expects, or put another way, it is the right rejoicing. 
                        

Archdeacon The Venerable Dr. Alson Percival  

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

 

Parish Priest:
The Rev’d Fr. Dwane Cassius B.A., M.A.
Tel: 1-869-465-2167
Mob: 1-869-662-2086
Fax: 1-869-465-6890

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Vestry:

Priest's Warden: Mrs. Lyn Bass 662 5816
People's Warden: Miss. Kai Williams 662 9841
Secretary: Ms. Theresa Nisbett
Treasurer: Ms. Karen Martin
Lay Rep to Synod: Ms. Thyra Gumbs
Youth Rep To Synod: Mr. Calvin Duggins
Members:Mr. Kumar Kirpalani
Mr. Jermaine Lewis
Ms. Sandra Cotton
Mrs. Barbara Liburd
Ms. Laverne Brookes 663-5538


 

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