To be sure, Jesus surprised his contemporaries. He angered the Pharisees because what he did was different from the Jewish custom, and he pleased them by talking and eating with them. He didn’t come for the righteous – because there is a perfectly righteous one? – No, he came for sinners, and he wanted to be close to them: “Tax collectors and sinners used to come to him to listen to him. The Pharisees lamented. They said: “He welcomes sinners and eats with them. “(Lk 15: 1-2)
Three parables in Luke 15 reveal God’s love will find sinners and seek them with all his might. Through these stories, Jesus spoke of a God who was willing to rummage through his house for what he thought was important, such as: “Which woman had ten francs and was unfortunate to lose? A dime, but he doesn’t light a light, so clean the house Repeat until you find it?” (Luke 15:8), a God who is willing to look for lost sheep thousands of miles away: “Who among you has a hundred sheep and loses another, and does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness To search for the lost sheep?” (Luke 15:4), and lightly carried the lamb on his shoulders and went home: “If he finds it, he will gladly carry it on his shoulders.” (Luke 15:5). Not afraid to run to meet the prodigal son’s father: “He had a long way to go, and his father saw him, and he was moved pitifully: running, he grabbed his neck and kissed him. Kissed till” (Luke 15). :20). And invited his eldest son to a banquet to celebrate the discovery of his missing younger son: “But we must celebrate, we must rejoice because this brother of yours is dead and alive; he was lost, and he is alive again. found” (Luke 15:32). Then the joy erupted because God was happy to have found his lost son and was willing to take care of him: “They rejoiced again” (Luke 15:24).
Lost in selfishness
Sheep, because stupidly lost, the youngest son believes that happiness can be found by spending money far away from his family: “In a few days, the youngest son gathered all the capital and set off to another country. . Far away. He was there Living a profligate life and ruining his inheritance” (Luke 15:13), the older son failed to recognize his father’s love: “Look, I have worked for you so many years, and have not sailed. His commandment; So you never gave me a little goat to celebrate with our friends. But this man’s son and prostitutes ate all his possessions and cut down the calf to celebrate” (Luke 15:29-30). All are lost in their little plans, but God is willing to do anything to show his love for them, and his heart wants justice that transcends human beings, and he came to the end: his son gave himself entirely out of love, he shows us the merciful acceptance of death on the cross: “Jesus Christ, who was in the form of God, did not consider himself to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, as living like a man. He humbled himself and obeyed unto death, even death on the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8), to “reconcile both to God through the cross and become one body; on the cross, he perished hatred” (Ephesians 2:16).
An open story about God’s love
Jesus did not “end” the parable. We must not know:
· Will the younger son grieve and repent after experiencing fatherly love?
· Has the younger son thought about his profligacy and will try to make up for it?
· Did the eldest brother attend the party for the return of his younger brother and rejoice with his family?
· Did the eldest brother find a way to understand his father’s heart, learn from it, and reconcile with his younger brother?
· Does the eldest brother feel that what he does at home is really beyond his obligations and freedom?
It’s an allegory that opens up many of our lifestyle choices.
Paul’s return is the model for all conversions.
The account of Paul’s return in Acts is relatively brief. However, in Philippians 3:1-14, Paul’s heart can be seen and how he was affected by his encounter with Jesus. Paul begins this passage by reminding readers of who he was: a zealous Jew, devoted to his religion, committed to its prosperity, and a great leader. Among my followers: “I am above my contemporaries in professing Judaism: I am more zealous than anyone in the traditions of my ancestors” (Galatians 1:13). However, his encounter with Jesus changed his heart, writing:
“Indeed, not through my righteousness, which is brought about by the Law of Moses, but through the righteousness that comes from faith in Christ, the righteousness that God gives according to faith. The key is to know Christ himself, especially Knowing how much power he has through resurrection, sharing his pain, imitating him in his death, and hoping to one day be raised from the dead” (Philippians 3:9-11).
Paul weighed everything in his life, all his accomplishments, goals, and successes, and found that suffering with and for Jesus was worth more than anything he could earn in his strength.
Paul goes on to write in this passage: “Nevertheless, it is not that I have won the prize, nor should I be perfect; but I am trying to run, and I want to get because I have been taken away by Christ Jesus” (Philipp. Libi 3:12).
God had great plans for Paul, and he surrendered completely to him. This change of heart is a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about change in anyone who is completely obedient to the will of God. Paul was a man committed to eradicating Christianity from the face of the earth: “You must have heard of my past in Judaism: I was too eager to persecute, those who wanted to destroy the Holy Church of God” (Galatians 1:14) . However, the love and power of God took possession of his heart and made him his holy servant.
Paul’s goals were changed by his encounter with Jesus. Now he is completely focused on the things of Jesus: “What I once thought was a gain, now, for Christ’s sake, I think a loss. Besides, compared to the great gain of knowing my Lord Jesus Christ, I think everything is Loss. For his sake, I have lost everything, and I consider it all rubbish, to gain Christ and be united with him” (Philippians 3:7-8), and gain in the world for Jesus’ name Glory: “Glory to God, to strengthen you according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which I preached” (Romans 16:25).
Paul knew that his true life of faith was just beginning, and it was his responsibility to always follow Jesus as the source of salvation. What can make a person wholeheartedly try to kill the beliefs of others for his own beliefs? Only the power of the love of Jesus Christ can still soften the hardened heart of any sinner. All it takes is this man to respond to Jesus’ call like Paul: “Lord, what shall I do?” (Acts 22:10)
God’s love is always gracious and tender to forgive.
Pope Francis recognizes the importance of this mercy to believers today. In the Angelus at noon on Sunday, March 27, 2022, the Pope said: “The parable of the prodigal son leads us to the heart of God, who always forgives with mercy and tenderness. God’s love always forgives us, though we are weary Ask God for forgiveness, he is not tired of forgiving us. The parable tells us that God is a father who not only welcomes us home but rejoices that his son comes home despite squandering all his possessions. We are the one Children, it is touching to think about how much Heavenly Father loves us and has been waiting for us.”
The Pope told a story of a repentant son who wanted to come back but was afraid of being rejected by his father. He was advised to write to his father and ask him to hang a white handkerchief in the window if he could forgive him. To his surprise, as he approached the house, he saw that every window was covered with white towels: the father greeted his son with ecstasy.
The Pope also invited believers to “live like the Father in the parable – the image of God the Father – who shows closeness to those who repent and seeks those who are far away. Like the Father, we need joy. When one’s heart When in alignment with God, a person sees their repentance no matter how badly wrong they have made and rejoices. Don’t just focus on the mistakes, don’t focus on what they did wrong, but see the good I am happy because the good of others is also mine!”
Pope Francis asked: “And we, do we know how to be happy for others to be better?”
God’s love will bring us back