Gospel: Lk 15:1-3, 11-32*
(…) Jesus continued: “There was a man with two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Give me my share of the estate.’ So the father divided his property between them. Some days later, the younger son gathered all his belongings and started off for a distant land, where he squandered his wealth in loose living. Having spent everything, he was hard pressed when a severe famine broke out in that land. (…) Finally coming to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will get up and go back to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against God, and before you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me then as one of your hired servants.’ (…) He was still a long way off, when his father caught sight of him. His father was so deeply moved with compassion that he ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But the father turned to his servants: ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Bring out the finest robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Take the fattened calf and kill it! We shall celebrate and have a feast, for this son of mine was dead, and has come back to life; he was lost, and is found!’ And the celebration began. Meanwhile, the elder son had been working in the fields. As he returned and approached the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what it was all about. The servant answered, ‘Your brother has come home safe and sound, and your father is so happy about it that he has ordered this celebration, and killed the fattened calf.’ The elder son became angry, and refused to go in. His father came out and pleaded with him. (…) The father said, ‘My son, (…) this brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life; he was lost, and is found. (…) And for that we had to rejoice and be glad!
THIS MAN WELCOMES SINNERS
AND EATS WITH THEM
There is a special place in the heart of Jesus for sinners. He consistently welcomes them, heals them, dines with them. There is a special intimacy when one dines with somebody. It means that one accepts that person. It implies friendship and trust. There are many people in our times that are shunned by “polite society” because they don’t conform to the usual norms. They are made a butt of jokes or spoken about with condescension. But Jesus seeks their company and enjoys being with them. Pope Francis exhibits the same predilection for them. I cannot forget the Pope embracing the man who had this terrible skin affliction with the mottled skin on his face and neck. There was absolutely no abhorrence in the Pope’s embrace. It was genuine, loving and compassionate. May we all learn to be as accepting and as genuinely compassionate to those around us who are judged unfavorably by society.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018