Thursday, November 5, 2015

“In reality, before the Lord we are all sinners and all in need of forgiveness. - All of us!

“If we—all of us—accept the grace of Jesus Christ, he changes our heart and from sinners makes us saints. To become holy we do not need to turn our eyes away and look somewhere else, or have as it were the face on a holy card! No, no, that is not necessary. To become saints only one thing is necessary: to accept the grace that the Father gives us in Jesus Christ. There, this grace changes our heart. We continue to be sinners for we are weak, but with this grace which makes us feel that the Lord is good, that the Lord is merciful, that the Lord waits for us, that the Lord pardons us—this immense grace that changes our heart.” ― Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy
Gospel Text: (Lk 15:1-10)
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”
Jesus today tells us the parable of the lost sheep and lost coin. These parables convey a God of insane and irrational love. A simple risk analysis would tell anyone that if you lose one sheep, you should just cut your losses and move on. If you leave the ninety-nine sheep to look for one lost sheep, then you risk losing more sheep to theft or wolves. The rational decision is to forget that one sheep. But Jesus’ parable suggests that God’s love for us is not rational. God rejoices in finding the one lost sheep.  

And a simple cost-benefit analysis would tell anyone that the effort in finding one coin is not worth the cost of lighting an expensive candle to look for it and then throwing a mini-celebration with friends and neighbors after finding the coin. No rational person would throw a party for finding one lost coin. The party would cost more than the coin! But God’s love is not rational and goes beyond our human calculus of love. And as Christians we are called to love as irrationally and foolishly as God.

If we are leading authentic Christian lives, then our lives will not be our own. Instead, we will live and die for the Lord. We will lead lives of irrational and insane love for one another.

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