What was the take home point, do you think, of the readings given us at Mass this Sunday? How did you receive them?
As you recall, our first reading from the Old Testament was an account of Moses and God dialoging about the Hebrews’ infidelities, God’s just anger, and God’s eventual relenting and forgiving. Our second reading was about Paul’s own account of his great sins in his former life and how God showed his immense mercy in forgiving Paul and giving him a ministry to the Gentiles. Then our Gospel was the telling of three parables by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees who were doubting and grumbling, the three parables being the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (prodigal son).
What was the one theme that ran through them all?
It was this: God has great joy, especially in forgiving his children.
God is a God of joy and of forgiveness. He is a God acutely aware of our sins, and yet he forgives joyfully, if we only ask for forgiveness.
Not that God doesn’t weep (to use a human image). Jesus wept. So God wept also for Jesus is God. God both weeps and is joyful when a sinner comes back and asks for forgiveness.
Perhaps there is not many of us who would literally leave 99 children in need of our protection to go looking for a lost one, especially if the 99 were in grave danger themselves. We would probably stay with the 99 until help arrived and then we would go out. Yet we know that God would neither abandon nor would he fail to search for the lost one. We have that kind of love from him.
May we be a people of joy and of forgiveness for all to see. More souls will be won by these means than by any other.