Friday, June 11, 2010

The heart has reasons that reason does not understand

Today we celebrate the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart of Jesus is a symbol for the great love Jesus has for us. It seems fitting on this day that we read passages of Scripture about the Good Shepherd.

Gospel text (Lk 15:3-7): Jesus told them this parable, «Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and seek out the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbors together and say: ‘Celebrate with me for I have found my lost sheep’. I tell you, just so, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine upright who do not need to repent

"Celebrate with me for I have found my lost sheep» (Lk 9:6). When we hear these words, we always tend to place ourselves in the group of the of the ninety nine upright who do not need to repent and observe “from the distance” how Jesus offers the salvation to a number of our acquaintances who happen to be much worse than us... Not at all!, Jesus' joy has a name and a face. Mine, yours, his..., because of our sins, we all are “the lost sheep”; so we better stop adding fuel to the flames of our arrogance, while we think we are fully converted. Christ died for the helpless, the ungodly, sinners, and his enemies. We have been all of that and worse, but he died for us anyway.

In the times we live in, where the concept of sin is played down or is even denied, where the Sacrament of Penance is considered by some persons as something hard, sad and obsolete, the Lord, in his parable, speaks only of celebration, and He does not do it only here, but actually all throughout the Gospels. Zaccheus, after having been forgiven, invites Jesus to eat to celebrate it (cf. Lk 19:1-9); the prodigal's father forgives him and offers a party for his return (cf. Lk 15,11-32), and the Good Shepherd rejoices for his found lamb that had wandered off the trail.

Do I really feel that way about the people in our world who seem to have no moral compass, no hope for the future, no knowledge of the love God has for them, who can only be described as lost? When was the last time I rejoiced because the lost had been found? Do I care about the lost? Do I believe that anybody actually is lost, that anyone might be a sinner who needs to repent? Could this partially explain the lack of joy that we sometimes experience as disciples of Jesus? Perhaps it is a thing of the past to believe that people are lost and need to repent. If, in fact, people are lost, won’t the love of God within us cause us to seek them even as the Good Shepherd sought us?"

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