Thought of the day
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thursday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time

"There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents"

Thursday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time

                     Commentary of the day 
Saint John-Mary Vianney (1786-1859), priest, curé of Ars 
A sermon for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, the 1st  on mercy

"There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents"

The way Jesus Christ acted during his mortal life shows us how great was his mercy towards sinners. We see how they all come to share his company and how he, far from turning them away or at least keeping his distance from them, to the contrary takes every possible means to draw them to his Father. He goes searching for them through compunction, gathers them together by his grace and wins them by his loving behavior. He deals with them with such kindness that he even stands up for them against the scribes and Pharisees, who wish to accuse them and seem not to want to endure them in Jesus Christ's company.

He goes even further than this: he wants to justify the behavior he adopts towards them with a parable that shows them in an insurpassable way the greatness of his love for sinners, saying to them: «A good shepherd with a hundred sheep, having lost one of them, left all the rest to pursue the one that had strayed, and having found it he placed it on his shoulders to spare it the difficulty of the road. Then, when he had restored it to its fold, he invited all his friends to rejoice with him at having found the sheep he had thought to be lost.» He also adds that parable of the woman who, having ten drachmas and losing one of them, lights her lamp to look for it in every corner of the house, and when she has found it invites all her friends to rejoice with her. «This is how,» he says, «all heaven rejoices at the return of a sinner who is converted and repents. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners. Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do» (Lk 5,31-32).

We see how Jesus Christ applies to himself these vivid images of the greatness of his mercy towards sinners. Oh what happiness for us to know that God's mercy is infinite! What impetuous desires we must feel arising within us to go and throw ourselves at the feet of a God who will welcome us with such great joy!