This homily was delivered at Sacred Heart Parish in Cebu.
I was standing in line at a coffee shop the other day with a friend of mine, and I noticed that after paying for our coffee at the counter, my friend immediately dropped all the change he received into the tip box without bothering to count the coins.
“That’s really generous of you,” I remarked.
My friend shrugged his shoulder and said, “To be honest, I just don’t like carrying loose change.”
That reminds me of one of the parables we just heard today: The Parable of the Lost Coin. Between the better known Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son, our Lord asks his listeners:
“What woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?”
The honest answer to that question these days may well be: “Very few!”
With the exception of those who are in need, most people I know, just like my friend at the coffee shop, would not waste their time looking for a single missing coin, not to mention lighting a lamp and sweeping a house. That’s because very few people put any premium on loose change these days. Loose change is considered to have little value, if any. Loose change is disposable change, something you drop into the tip box without any second thought, perhaps partially out of generosity, but mostly out of convenience. Like my friend, most people would prefer not to bother carrying loose change.
That got me thinking. Aren’t we lucky that God isn’t like most of us? Aren’t we blessed that God does not consider us loose change? That is what the Parable of the Lost Coin teaches us: ours is a God who values every single person and refuses to think of anyone–including, believe it or not, the worst of sinners–as having little or no value. For God, no one is loose change. No one is disposable. When He loses us, He will feel the pinch, and He will go out of His way to find us. And just like the shepherd and the father in the other two parables, He will not stop, He will not give up, until He finds us.
For me, through the Parable of the Lost Coin, our Lord is inviting us to do two things: First, he is inviting us to be grateful, grateful for God’s boundless love and mercy, so that every person, every single one of us, including those that we ourselves tend to look down on, is very much worth searching for. Believe it, the Lord will rummage through all the corners of the world in search of every single person because for him, no one is loose change.
The second invitation is for us to examine ourselves and the way we treat other people in our lives. Are there people in our lives that we have been treating like loose change? People that, for some reason, we see little worth in, people we, in one way or another, consider disposable, people we are not willing to waste time on because we believe we have better things to do. If there are such people in our lives, our Lord is inviting us to take a second look at them, to see them through his loving eyes, so that we may recognize their true worth and treat them appropriately.
Dear friends, no one is loose change.