Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lost and Found

"Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf."
He said to him,
"My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.” Luke 15:30-32

For many years, I have observed, particularly in business, that loyalty is often interpreted as weakness. I can think of more than a few instances when my generosity and my willingness to move well over the other side of center was taken as a victory, seen as a indicator of vulnerability, received in a manner diametrically opposed to the spirit in which it was given. Sometimes it amuses me, sometimes it makes me sad, many times it makes me just plain weary.

And yet, always you get more than you give.

But in this piece, I don't think our Lord was speaking specifically about loyalty and faithfulness or even family. I think our Lord spoke through Luke to remind us once again about one of his key values: life. Our Lord teaches us about life, over and over and over again. The first time I am aware of it is when Luke tells the story of Mary's conception. This angel visits a young girl with an unlikely, largely impossible story/assignment. And she does not question the angel once--not a why me? but I'm up for partner this year! how did my name come up?--but embraces the life that God sends her. Simple. Wonderful.

In practically the same breath, we are told the beautiful story of Elizabeth, old and barren, but yet, suddenly living in the springtime of motherhood. John Paul II left us with the lesson of a millenium, that of life and ever always moving forward, with resolve and courage. Soon, we will be reading that wonderful story of the women tending our Lord's tomb, who find it empty on the third morning. They are met by an angel who says, "He isn't here."

He was out preaching to the people, doing the best work of his ministry. And that's the lesson I think God wants us to take in all things. Get out there and live your life. Do your best work. Go forward. Celebrate, rejoice, kill the fattened calf and make beautiful music. Choose life.

The Kan EWA

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