The theo-political impulse of this parable is this: one needs to address the inequality of perceptions that manifest both in society and sacred places.
Luke states with exquisite and unmistakable clarity that God will not hesitate to silence those with power, and give a bullhorn to those without power, even ensuring that—if need be—the creation itself will speak justice into the world.
How can White U.S. Christians in this moment love Asian American and Pacific Islander bodies, without succumbing to the seductions of commodification and ornamentation? How can we resist the impulses to only understand Easter’s resurrection through the lens of generative suffering?
We must remember that even when the pandemic is over, this nation will still be under threat by people and forces who have declared war on everything and everyone it defines as “other”. We must remain committed to being hospitable to the stranger, and caring for the most vulnerable.
True stewardship is about the shift in perspective from climbing up a tree to serve one’s own ends to climbing down to serve others.
The two stories of Luke 15:1–10, which we might call “parables of the remainder,” illustrate a core component of the Christian political orientation. That is, they highlight the alternative logic of much of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that urges us to foster solidarity in community through identification with the remainder, with the least of these, and to thereby bring justice and liberation.
Jesus does not command those with privilege to make space at their tables, to give a portion of their excess to charities, or to invite a disadvantaged neighbor to join the feast. No, Jesus invites those with privilege to put off their privilege, and then to use the excess that their privilege has still provided to feed not their fellow privileged friends, but those who are most in need.
The political resonances of Palm Sunday sound clearly when we read as if we didn’t already know the end of the story.