God searching for us 

November 3, 2022 – Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110322.cfm)

While Jesus was trying to bring people to conversion, freedom and closer to God, a group of people grumbled and complained because of Jesus’ intentions and actions. The parables of the lost sheep and of the lost coin are images of God searching for those who have lost their way, who distanced from the community and from God. Yet, God longs and desires the presence of those who lost their way and wants to bring them back to his presence. Thus, these two parables tell us how dear each of us in the heart of God. God does not rest and does not surrender until God wins us back and finds us again.

However, such image and nature of God, was received with hatred and hostility 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. For them, Jesus was not following the law that they revered so much. They did not want a God who forgives and redeems sinners and the lost. They wanted a God who condemns as what their law prescribed.

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.

That is why, Jesus’ presence was indeed a threat against these people, because Jesus was turning the table against them. Jesus revealed the true face of God, a loving and forgiving God.

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 represented that tendency in us to reject whatever is 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 what Paul also realized. His letter to the Philippians revealed 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.

And so, like the tax collectors and sinners, may we have the courage to draw near to Jesus and listen to him and be changed by him. 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 love because of unfortunate circumstances in their life. Kabay pa.

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