The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Rodel Aclan):
Pope Francis once said, “ God never gets tired forgiving us. “ Indeed, He is not. The gospel narrative that we hear today confirms this truth. The Scripture further says that Jesus as a Good Shepherd would even leave the ninety nine sheep in order to find the lost one. Once He finds it, He celebrates with His friends and neighbors. He is the one who would always look for you whenever we are lost and He would never get tired of doing it. It is good to ask ourselves, “ How many times have we got lost in our life”? How many times have we turned our backs against God by committing sins. Personally, I did it countless times. We might wonder what is His reason why He keeps on drawing us toward Himself despite the fact that the sins we have committed are as dirty as mud. What does God want from us that he would even look for us?
I realize that loves us so much that He keeps on forgiving us from our sins and looking for us in the darkness that we willingly entered until we are found. There is nothing that we have that we can boast before Him because everything we have comes from Him. There is nothing that we can do that would make Him love us more. No sins of ours could make Him love us less. His love for us is constant. His love for us is the only reason why we continue to exist. On my part, many times I heard before that God loves us all that He sent His only Son to save man from sin and death. However, truth applies to me on the head level only. I knew it but I never experience it in my life. The Gospel today made me aware of that enduring love even in the darkest episodes of my life in the past. True enough, I realize that He loves me since the very beginning. Now I can feel His love even more through the forgiveness of my sins and past mistakes. He continues to shower His blessings upon me despite my sinfulness. Before, my shame and guilt prevent me from approaching Him. But now I have the courage to return to Him because I know that He has forgiven me and has waited for me even before I decided to return home to Him. There is no other kind of love that can give peace and happiness to anyone except the merciful love of God. The Gospel is also telling me now that I am important before the Lord because He would even leave the others just to look for me and all the angels and saints in heaven would rejoice when I am already found. Nevertheless, the only reason that we cannot experience His love and forgiveness is when we consciously reject His forgiveness because of our shame, guilt and even our own stubbornness. Therefore God invites all of us to humble ourselves before Him, to be sorry for ours sin and to amend our lives. Opening our hearts to God’s grace enables us to hear His call. The evil one, seduces us so we would commit sins and prevent us from receiving God’s pardon and mercy. But we must know that the evil one does not have the last say. Jesus Christ who defeated sin and death has the last word. We only need to cooperate and be willing to be found by Him. In my journey as priest in process, I am constantly purifying my intentions in heeding the call of God. It is consoling that my God whom I want to praise and serve through the vocation to the priesthood is a loving and forgiving God.