November 7, 2019 (Thursday of week 31, Year I)
More joy in heaven
Dear friends in Christ, one of the earliest lessons we learn about our faith is that heaven is a place of joy and happiness, meant for those who have lived their lives in accordance with the will of God here on earth.
Today’s first reading (Romans 14:7-12) tells us clearly that every follower of Jesus is no longer a person unto himself. In fact each one becomes another Christ. “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” There are basically two lessons Paul wants us to draw from the passage: To live in solidarity in Christ; and to refrain from judging others. God is the ultimate judge of our actions and He is the only one capable of giving to each what his or her conducts deserve. To close it, he says, “Each of us shall give an account of himself to God.” How prepared are you for this?
The gospel (Luke 15:1-10) tells us that the Pharisees and scribes murmured because of the way Jesus associated with sinners and tax collectors. They wanted a more stringent treatment for sinners. The parables on the man who leaves ninety-nine sheep by the hill side to search for one and the woman who searches till she finds her lost coin, present Jesus as one who has come to seek out and to save the lost. If the finding of one sheep or a coin, provokes joy and happiness leading to celebrations, the recovery of a sinner from the path of perdition to life, should be celebrated. Those who join the celebration obviously celebrate the recovery of lost values in the sheep and the coin that were lost. We are sometimes tempted too to place a limit on God’s mercy and by implication our mercy for others. Jesus challenges us, to adopt his own value scale of the sinner. All those who are lost are welcome to dine with Jesus—he is searching for you, you're not completely lost.
Let us pray: Have mercy on us Lord, for we have sinned even by our judgment of others. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.