The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden D. Nuique)
God is inclusive, He leaves no one out. God rejoices over even one person who returns to Him. He celebrates the homecoming of His lost child even if He recognizes His child’s waywardness. This means that God does not ignore the flaws of that child; rather, these weaknesses do not diminish His love for the child.
During priestly formation, relationships between brothers are tested. Misunderstanding, biases and other hindrances can erode an initially pure link between people. When these barriers persist, through malice, pride or apathy, friendships are lost.
From what I went through in my relationship with my batch mates, years passed whereby the “canker in the rose” corrupted our friendship with each other. I even turned to other people outside the batch for that much sought-after trust and understanding. Presently, I realized my errors and role in the decline of our batch’s bond, so I continue to amend myself and find ways to rectify the damage I wrought.
And all these insights and efforts spring from Christ’s inspiration to recognize the wayward sheep, to bring it home, and celebrate its return. This action of God is concrete in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He inspires us with His infinite love, guides us to confess our sins, absolves our sins through the priest, and helps us to change our ways.
God gives us everything that we need to become, once more, His faithful and loving children. God wants us to be happy in this life. He knows that we can only be happy when we have a good relationship with Him, which translates into good relationships with each other.