In today’s Gospel we hear three parables: the Lost Sheep, the Ten Coins, and the Prodigal Son. Jesus often taught by using parables; simple stories used to teach a moral or a lesson. The lesson of these three parables is that God loves each of us regardless of our mistakes. To Him, no one is of more or lesser value than another.
As a seventh grade teacher at a Catholic school, each year we came to a unit on parables. The major assignment for my students during this time was to write a “Modern Day Parable”. For some of my natural creative writers, this task came easily; for others, there was great struggle involved. In the end, however, it was always evident that the students learned the lesson at hand: that the moral lessons Jesus taught are universal over time and culture.
What I’d like to share with you today, is my own “Modern Day Parable”. Every day when I was growing up, as my mom would drop me off at school she would say to me “I love you, be good”. As I got older, before I would go out with friends, as I was walking out the back door, my mom would say “I love you, be good”. To me this meant, “stay out of trouble”. She said this to me every day, sometimes more than once; it was something that I expected, but rarely thought about.
As many of you may know, my husband and I welcomed our first child, Luke, in December. I am very lucky that my mom is available and able to watch Luke while I go to work. Every morning, my mom comes over, we go over feeding and napping schedules, and just before I walk out the front door, she says “I love you, be good”. After a couple of months of this, one morning I stopped and said to her “I’m just going to work. What kind of trouble do you think I’m going to get in?” She responded by saying “Is that what you thought I meant all these years? No, I mean do good things, be a good person, be a positive influence; but I can’t say all of that as you’re running out the door”.
These are the types of lessons that I hope, with the help of Jesus’ parables, to pass on to my children: to love everyone, to forgive as God does, to stop and truly listen to what people are saying, and to be a positive force in the world.