Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.
“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.” LK 15:1-10
Today, Jesus teaches us that God is not very economical (Bishop Barron). Who in their right mind would leave 99 to gain 1? God’s grace can’t be earned, its a gift and He can use it how He wants. How does a sinner receive this grace? Allowing Jesus into your boat, recognizing our sinfulness, humbly approaching the One who is love, mercy, and justice. As Bishop Barron says, “The Gospel is about detachment”. We are called to repent and change our lives by looking at life in a completely different way. We are called to be holy.
Do we desire holiness? When we take steps to avoid the near occasion of sin by coming to God’s mercy and choosing His Will with our effort until the sin is no longer a part of our life. This may also require medicine, doctors, and counselors with God’s grace in confession. The opposite is the one who thinks they never sin or tries to rationalize their sin and does not reconcile themselves with God. One who does not desire holiness or is blinded by their pride/ego. I believe each human struggles with a little bit of both.
In the act of contrition, we pray to “avoid the near occasion of sin”. Often times we forget this once we get back into the routine of life. Habits are important to pay attention to. We may need to change a routine we are in, a place we go, people we hang out with, or today an electronic device we use too much (what is the purpose of the device?).
God gave us life as a gift out of love, our identity is in Him. Jeremy Driscoll says, “I am loved, therefore I am.” We are created out of love. We do not exist and our lives have no meaning without this love. Our Father destined us before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him, redeemed by His Son’s holy blood in a covenant that required sacrifice, and sealed us in His Holy Spirit (Eph 1:1-14) This is our identity and we stop living it, when we sin.
When we celebrate all saint’s day and all soul’s day, we learn that we are made to see God face to face at the end of our journey through the death and resurrection of Christ in baptism. We have a high calling. We must learn to “avoid the near occasion of sin” by forming ourselves in knowledge of God and daily habits that lead us to God and His grace not away from Him. We are called to rise above with God’s grace and cooperating with His Will. Our souls, our being, is a precious gift from God and He wills for us to come back to Him. He calls us to make our will His Will to return His love. Pope Francis says, “God never tires of giving mercy, we tire of asking for it.” Repent, you have an entire heaven full of angels and saints waiting to rejoice!
Most importantly, God’s one desire is your friendship. He sent His only Son to die for it. God wants a relationship with you. Our sin is a failure in relationships. We are made for relationships. Our sin stems from a failure in our relationship with God, our own flesh, or another person. When we sin we fail in one of these relationships. Think about who you are hurting next time you are about sin. We all need to learn and practice forgiveness because we will certainly fail in our relationships. They are difficult. With God’s grace and love transforming us, we too can share this love to build healthy relationships with others.
Key tip: If you want to avoid the near occasion of sin, fill yourself with God’s life (sacraments). We can receive the Eucharist daily and go to confession as often as needed. Pray with the Scriptures developing a personal relationship with God. Sit in silence. Ask Mary to lead you to her Son, pray the rosary meditating on the mysteries of Jesus and Mary’s lives. Adore God in Adoration. Read a spiritual book each day. We can’t earn heaven, it is a gift. We are transformed by God’s grace, so bring yourself to His grace all throughout the day, then you will find yourself yearning for God and time to spend with Him. You will find yourself avoiding the near occasion of sin because you no longer want to hurt your best friend!
Today’s challenge: Repent. Baby steps start one day at a time and come to God’s grace in the Eucharist and confession daily if needed. The saints often came to these two sacraments daily. Clothe yourself with Christ.
Be a servant, become a saint!