YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: GOD’S LOVE FOR THE LOST…”There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner”
BY: Fr. Francesc NICOLAU i Pous
Today, the evangelist of God’s mercy imparts two parables of Jesus that lighten up his divine behavior towards those sinners returning to the right path. With the human image of joy, he reveals God’s goodness finding pleasure in the homecoming of those who moved away from sin.
It is like coming back to the Father’s home (as more distinctly will say at Lk 15:11-32). «For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved» (Jn 3:17), and He did it while welcoming those that, full of confidence, «were seeking the company of Jesus (…), to hear what He had to say» (Lk 15:1), as He healed their soul as the doctor heals the body of the ailing (cf. Mt 9:12).
While the Pharisees believed they were so righteous and felt they needed no doctor, it is actually for them —the evangelist says— that Jesus proposes the parables we read today. If we feel spiritually sick, Jesus will tend to us and will be happy that we have gone to him. But if, on the contrary, we would think, as those proud Pharisees did, that we need not to plead forgiveness, the divine Doctor will not heal us.
Each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we must feel like sinners, as we say «and forgive us our wrongs…». And we sure must be grateful to him for doing it! As grateful we must also be, for having placed, so mercifully, at our disposal, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us hope our haughtiness will not make us to look down on it. St. Augustine tells us that Jesus Christ, God and Man, gives us an example of humbleness by removing the “tumor” of our arrogance, «for, though great is the misery of a haughty man, greater is still the mercy of the humble God».
Let us further add that the lesson Jesus gives to the Pharisees is also an example for all of us; we cannot throw sinners away from us. The lord wants us to love them as He has loved us (cf. Jn 13:34) and we must rejoice to bring back home the lost sheep or to recover the lost coin.
Fr. Francesc NICOLAU i Pous (Barcelona, Spain)