The Value of a Soul
Today we have several parables in the Gospel which teach us how God is always seeking us out to save us. The Parable of the Lost Sheep might seem a little strange to us. “What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it?” Maybe if we were in this position we might cut our losses and think it is better that we stay and look after the other ninety-nine? If you go off looking for one, you might return to find many others have strayed in the meantime.
But God is not like us. Our Lord here is talking about the love of the Father. If you’re a parent with six children and one of them gets lost in the shopping centre, you wouldn’t say, “Oh never mind, I have five others.” But God’s love for us is infinitely greater than the most loving parent there has ever been. So He searches for the one who is lost.
Then in the Parable of the Lost Coin the woman is overjoyed when she finds the coin she had lost even though it be of relatively little value. But she nevertheless invites all her friends and neighbours to rejoice with her when she found it, symbolising the joy in Heaven over a sinner returning to God. Each human being God creates at conception with an immortal soul. God doesn’t want anyone to be lost, but we know from what Our Lord has taught us that sadly some are lost for eternity.
We are in danger of losing our souls if we fail to recognise our sinfulness, our need of God and of repentance. It should concern us when people abandon God and lead sinful lives, stop coming to church and lose their faith, because we know not the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return to judge us. The point of Home Mission Sunday is to help us bring back those souls to God.
However, these parables, including that of the Prodigal Son show the extraordinary measures to which God will go to win them back. He sends us out. We are the instruments God needs to bring lost souls back to Him. Pray for them, sacrifice for them, do penances for them. And don’t forget to look after your own soul. Pray every day, read the Scriptures and the lives of the saints. Learn how to become holy from them. Confess your sins frequently and practice the works of mercy. Our souls are worth protecting, because after all, Our Lord felt them worth dying for.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC