Go After the One Who is Lost | iPray with the Gospel
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing … Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”.
Thank God that He “receives sinners and eats with them” because that’s exactly what we are. Jesus loves sinners. He searches for them, waits for them, helps them, meets them… He died for them. This chapter 15 of St Luke is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Bible. We are sinners and God is Merciful. Saints are sinners who keep trying. They fall but they keep getting up again.
Pope Francis was telling you this summer in Krakow: ‘but Father, it is so difficult to rise up, to be always moving forwards and upwards. Father, I am weak, I fall, and I try but so many times I fall down”. Mountaineers, as they climb mountains, sing a very beautiful song whose words go like this: “in the art of climbing, it is not important that you do not fall down, but that you do not stay down”. If you are weak, if you fall, look up a little for there is Jesus’ hand extended to you as he says: “Rise up, come with me”’.
We will not always overcome the odds. There will be many defeats. Yet our contrition will bring us closer to God. Works of art are usually the fruits of long-term patience. An engineer repeats his calculations many times. The writer rewrites his work twenty times over. The sculptor tries many times until he is satisfied with his work. That’s the reason for the examination of conscience at night: to ask for forgiveness for our mistakes and to set the battle for the next day. Jesus and Heaven rejoice every time we restart. He comes to find us and loves to see that we don’t give up, that every night we pick ourselves up again. Mary, my Mother, help me to do the examination of conscience well every night, to get up again pulled by the Hand of your Son and to restart my struggle for holiness.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).