November 5, 2020 – Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110520.cfm)
I find it disturbing that while Jesus was trying to bring people to conversion, to freedom and closer to God, there was a group of people also who grumbled and complained because of Jesus’ actions. The parable of the lost sheep and of the lost coin are images of God searching for those who along the path of life have lost their way, distanced from the community and from God. Yet, God longs and desires the presence of those who lost their way. Thus, these two parables tell us really how dear each of us in God’s heart. God will not rest and will not surrender until God wins us back and finds us again.
However, such image and nature of God, was received with hatred by those who wanted to control God. The Pharisees and scribes complained and grumbled because Jesus was eating with sinners and being friendly with them. They did not want a God who forgives and redeems sinners and the lost. They wanted a God who condemns.
This was the reason of their grumbling because they wanted a condemning God. Having this kind of God, then, they can easily incite fear among the people and control people according to their agenda and selfish intentions.
Hence, while Jesus tells us of God’s embrace and God’s longing for us, we too are reminded of our tendency to reject God. The Pharisees and the scribes represent that tendency in us to reject whatever is of God’s. However, just as the shepherd never stopped until he found the lost sheep and just as the woman searched carefully until she found the lost coin, God also continues to call and invite us, to search and to find us until we allow God to embrace us.
This is something that Paul also realized. His letter to the Philippians recounted his past where he thought that he was already in the right path. Yet, Paul was a lost soul believing that righteousness based on the law was enough. However, when Jesus found him, Paul also found himself and gained everything in Christ.
May these parables always remind us of this God who longs and desires for our presence, for our conversion and for our freedom. Moreover, may it move us too to be more embracing, accepting and welcoming of our brothers and sisters who need a lot of understanding and loving because of unfortunate circumstances in their life. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR
Please take more doses of God today. The only side-effect is for you to become holier.
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