From the Word of the Day
So to them he addressed this parable. “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. (Luke 15: 3-7))
Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the feast of the Love of Jesus, the Gospel offers us one of the most beautiful parables in Luke’s Gospel. It is that of the Lost Sheep. This parable and the other two of this chapter are considered the parables of God’s mercy. They could also be called with even more reason, the parables of the God’s joy. The shepherd, who is God, having found the lost sheep, is filled with joy and carries it on His shoulders, goes home, and calls His friends and neighbors telling them to rejoice with Him because He has found His lost sheep. The last line of the passage says that there will be more joy in Heaven for one sinner who converts than for the ninety-nine who have no need of conversion.
Joy expresses more than mercy. To be the motive for someone’s joy is not simply being the object of mercy. God’s true mercy cannot leave out joy. The shepherd is so interested in his lost sheep, that he leaves the other ninety-nine to go to look for it and his joy is great when he finds it.
Andre Louf, monk of our times who died a few years ago, described the deep love and joy of the Heart of Jesus for each of us: “this is how God truly loves us. He does not crush us with a love that is self-sufficient, omnipotent, and triumphant. He begs for our love. We are not alone in depending on His love. He too, so to say, desires our love. We are not alone in sinking roots in His heart. He too wants to have His roots in ours. In fact, He wants us to become His torment and His joy.”
Come, Lord Jesus…Come to me, seek me, find me, take me in Your arms and carry me.
The Voice of Jeremiah, Prophet
Is not Ephraim my beloved son, my preferred child? Every time I threaten him, I remember him with affection. This is why my heart is moved for him and I feel deep tenderness for him. (31”20)