Wednesday, November 07, 2018

There is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."  (Luke 15: 7).

The Pharisees and the scribes were jealous because tax collectors and sinners were soaking up every word of the teaching of Jesus.  Their complaint was the occasion for the parable of the the Lost Sheep.  The politician understands that one vote counts.  Jesus is teaching the same lesson to His disciples.  One lost sinner is precious in the eyes of God.

There are so many lost sheep everywhere today. How do we help them to come home?  Consider the 7  Spiritual Works of Mercy:

1.Instruct the ignorant.
2.Counsel the doubtful.
3.Admonish sinners.
4.Bear wrongs patiently.
5.Forgive offences willingly.
6.Comfort the afflicted.
7.Pray for the living and the dead.

Ignorance is probably the key reason for people's alienation from God.  The truths below attest to this:

#1. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  (St Jerome).
#2.  "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations." (CCC 2087).
#3.  Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God."  (Matthew 22: 29).
#4. "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief."  (1 Timothy 1: 13).
#5. "Ignorance nourishes vices and is the mother of all errors"
(St Isidore of Seville).
#6. "Brothers and sisters, I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;  darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart." (Ephesians 4: 17 - 18).

The New Evangelization is an ambitious program for lay people to evangelize, catechize and sacramentalize the lost sheep.   The first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy is a good place to start:
1.Instruct the ignorant.
2.Counsel the doubtful.
3.Admonish sinners.

"There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."  (Luke 15: 7).

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