3rd Sunday after Pentecost 5.6.16 Retrieving the lost
When Our Lord went to the Cross He was of course in much pain.
Despite that pain He was still able to speak to the women of Jerusalem, to His Mother and St John; to the Good Thief; to His Heavenly Father. In all these communications He maintained perfect composure, and goodwill.
He was more concerned for others than Himself. His concern extended to the eternal welfare of those around Him, as He asks forgiveness for them.
Salvation of souls was always the main reason He had come, and He did not forget that even in the midst of His pain.
This shows the infinite love of God in operation. The measure of love is how much one would be prepared to suffer for the sake of the beloved. In God's case we see He is prepared to go a very long way.
We are supposed to operate on the same principle, which could only happen by His grace acting in us.
Our Lord can see the good that is in each person – either what is there, or at least ought to be there. Everyone is made in God’s image. No one is created evil. If they go that way it is their own decision.
He wants to see that goodness emerge, so the person is actually as always meant-to-be.
Some people need a lot of repair and polish to get to that state.
With this in view, Our Lord goes after the lost sheep, never withdrawing His offer of mercy.
We tend to regard people according to how they impact on us; being generally indifferent, even inclined to hostility if we think someone has offended us.
So it needs a lot of grace for us to see other people in the same way that Our Lord sees them.
And even as to loving one’s own self there can be difficulties.
Consider how many people think their lives worthless, even to the point of suicide.
No one is insignificant to God. One may be disregarded by other people, but never by God. If people could see themselves with the same value that God Himself puts on them, they would not be throwing their lives away – or their souls.
Again for this we need grace. It is hard to think straight when we are in the depths of sadness, but if we seek the Lord He will make Himself evident.
We will see ourselves in a more positive light, and will find it easier to live by God’s will.
Our sins have no place once we realize how important we are to God.
And sins against our neighbour have no place once we realize how important that person is to God. We can hardly hate someone whom God loves!
We might think certain people are beyond saving, and maybe we don’t even want them to be saved.
But God gives us a different picture. The worse the person is the more God will pursue him (The Lost Sheep).
We see then that just as a human soul has immense value to God; so the human capacity to love is also immense, if largely untapped.
We are still imprisoned in worldly ways of thinking.
Bitterness, anxiety, refusal to forgive – these can all prevent people from rising like eagles, which they would do if they only knew the full truth.
We find the grace we need in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which feast we have just celebrated.
All His good qualities are infinite, so there is always more we can draw upon.
He will lead us to the right way of seeing - self, others, and God.