THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Third Sunday after Pentecost
30 June 2019
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Today we see that Jesus has an absolute love for each and every one of us. He loves each of us as if we were the only one. We see this in the parable of today's Gospel when Jesus leaves the ninety-nine to search until He finds the one that was lost. We must not think that the ninety-nine were abandoned or were in any danger. These were protected and cared for with just as much love, care, and concern. It is the lost one that is in greatest need and our attention is brought upon him to show us how much God loves us even when we go astray. Also, if we are not the one that has gone astray, we are made to understand why God's grace abounds in those who were once in sin.
Where sin is great we find that the graces of God are even more greatly applied. These graces are not given as a reward for sin but are rather an extra effort in the fight for the eternal life of this soul. We must refrain from questioning God and the application of His graces. His ways are beyond our comprehension. It should be enough for us to understand that God desires the salvation of each of us and uses the best means in each particular situation. If we see blessings received by someone whose life is not the best, we should not become scandalized. We should not conclude that sin is better than virtue. We should understand that because God applies such great efforts, sin is a great evil requiring an even greater grace to overcome it. The presence of God among sinners is not an endorsement of sin, but rather a condemnation of sin. It is a testimony to the infinite love of God.
There is great joy in heaven over one sinner that repents more than over the ninety-nine who have no need of repentance. We celebrate the anniversary day of the winning of historical battles and wars, but these were not won in a single day. The previous days were just as important, perhaps even more important than the day of victory. The great joy in heaven over the one sinner does not take any of the rewards away from the just. On the contrary, the just are likewise filled with great joy over the victory. This victory over sin is likewise their own victory. The just are all cooperating and working for the same goal of the conversion of the sinner and the overthrow of sin. The joy is focused upon one but is participated in by all. The Shepherd rejoices but, so do all the members of the flock. The ninety-nine has felt the loss of the one and has suffered because of it. They have been working and praying for the restoration and completion of the flock. Their efforts are rewarded in this joy.
We must strive to avoid the jealousy of the elder brother of the Prodigal Son. We are invited to participate in the joy and celebration and thus are beneficiaries as well. The gain for our brother is not any loss to us. On the contrary, his gain is our gain also. His loss is our loss as well. Through jealousy, the devils would have us believe that the loss of our brother is our gain, and his return becomes our loss. God is infinite and therefore we must not think in terms of "zero-sum game theory." It is possible for us all to increase without this becoming someone else's loss.
If we truly love God, we must see the joy He has in the return of the sinner and then we naturally participate in that joy and add our own with His. The redemption of the lost sinner brought the Son of God to earth and cost Him many sufferings and sacrifices even to the complete Sacrifice upon the Cross. We have been lost, now let us be found and returned to where we belong and let there be joy in the hearts of all. We are all sinners and Jesus has come for us. He has found us. He is eager to return us to our proper place of life and love, but He will not force us. He has opened the gate and instructed us to follow Him. He will even carry us if we are too weak, but He will not force us. We must choose to enter in. Let us not look to others with jealousy because this one is carried and that one walks and another runs. Let us not despise others who stumble and fall from time to time. Rather, may we all work together assisting one another. We are one flock one body. The success of each one is the success of the entire body. The joy found in one is shared by all. We should work and pray for all those who are lost. Their loss is our loss. The flock is only whole when all of us are together again. Their return is our gain and should fill us with joy, just as it fills the Heart of God and all the angels and saints in Heaven.
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