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The Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son

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Lesson Overview

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In this week鈥檚 Gospel passage, Jesus tells three of His most well-known parables, each sharing the theme of searching for and finding something or someone that was lost. In this lesson, students will use sacred art to reflect upon the meaning of the Gospel and how each parable reflects a different aspect of Christ and His mercy.

Lesson Materials


  1. Have your students read the Gospel passage for the week and complete the Focus Questions.
  2. Review and discuss the answers when they have completed the Focus Questions.
  3. Have your students work in groups for three or four to reflect upon and discuss the three sacred art images. (Note: you may choose to assign each group one of the paintings to reflect upon or have each group reflect upon all three.)
  4. When complete, project the images of the paintings and call on groups to share and discuss their responses.

Answer Key

Focus Questions

  1. They were complaining that Jesus associated with tax collectors and sinners and that He ate with them (a sign of covenant or family relationship). In response, Jesus told them a parable.
  2. Leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go off to find the lost one.
  3. He would set it on his shoulders and carry it home. Then, he would call his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him. There will be more joy in Heaven over one repentant sinner than in ninety-nine who have no need for repentance.
  4. She would light a lamp and sweep the house until she finds the coin.
  5. She would call her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. There will be more joy among the angels of God in Heaven over one repentant sinner.
  6. He demanded his share of his father鈥檚 estate. The father divided his property between his sons. Normally, a share of one鈥檚 father鈥檚 estate would be received after the father鈥檚 death as an inheritance.
  7. He left his father鈥檚 farm and travelled to a distant country where he spent everything on a life of 鈥渄issipation,鈥 meaning sinful and excessive self-indulgence.
  8. He had spent his inheritance and then a famine struck and he was in dire need. He realized that the pigs he tended ate better than he, and that the hired hands on his father鈥檚 farm also led better lives than he. So, he decided to return home, confess his offense to his father, and ask to work as a hired hand on his father鈥檚 farm.
  9. He was filled with compassion, ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
  10. To bring the finest robe and put it on his son, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. He said, 鈥渢his son of mine was dead, and has come back to life again; he was lost, and has been found.鈥
  11. He was out in the field working. He became angry hearing that his younger brother had returned and a celebration was being had in his honor. He refused to enter the house. He did not think it was fair that he had remained with his father and served him all these years and had never had even a small celebration, but now that the younger son who had squandered his inheritance had returned, they were celebrating.
  12. With tenderness. The father told his older son that he was here with him always and all he had was his. But the younger son was dead and had come back to life again, lost but now found.

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