– Memorial of St Charles Borromeo –
“There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” [Luke 15:1-10]
The parable of the lost sheep reminds us not only that God searches for us in the times we are lost, but also that when we do return, we are met with open arms and joy.
When I read this parable, I am reminded of a story I once heard from an Australian Bishop. He spoke of a woman who for weeks would sit in her car in the Church car park and not come inside for Mass. The Bishop would see her every week, and wonder why she would not come in. One day, he decided to tap on her car window just before the mass started, and ask her why she was waiting in the car park. The woman looked at the Bishop and started to cry, telling him that she had once committed a horrible act and that she “could not go inside and be with all of those good people”. She said she felt such shame.
The Bishop told the woman that she was welcome to come inside, and that it was never too late to return to Jesus, in fact, he had been missing her. She listened to the Bishop and decided to come inside for Mass, for the first time in almost a decade. According to the Bishop, she remains to this day one of the parish’s most loyal parishioners.
This parable is a beautiful reminder that it is never too late to return to Jesus, for “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”.
Today I invite you to be mindful of the individuals you encounter who may be at the moment, a “lost sheep.” It may be a friend, a colleague, or a family member, or perhaps it may even be yourself. I invite you to act as Jesus would and find the time to check in on them, remind them of how loved they are and that it is never too late.
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