In the Gospel of the Day, Luke 15.1-32, we are reassured and comforted. The great depth of God's forgiveness is illustrated.
Most of us can come up with examples, sometimes many examples, of times when we could have been more caring, more helpful, more patient, less judgemental, less demanding or less critical. The list goes on. This gospel reminds us not to despair, but to truly repent and feel God's forgiveness.
In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, we would be sought and found. After that we would be returned to the flock and rejoicing would occur. "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance." (Luke 15.7)
In the Parable of the Lost Coin, the simple story of searching for the lost coin, despite having other coins, reinforces the story of the return of one sinner. "Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15.10)
The Parable of the Prodigal Son tells of the two brothers; one who stays and works hard for his father and the other who leaves and squanders his inheritance. Upon his return, the younger son repents of his previous life and the poor choices that he has made. His father not only forgives him, but holds a celebration for his return. In explaining to the dutiful older brother, the reason for the celebration the father adds, "But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found." (Luke 15.32)
From these Parables we see a loving, caring God who forgives and rejoices when we repent.
In this, The Year of Mercy, may we become more aware of our need to seek forgiveness and to extend forgiveness and mercy to others.