So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
We so often uses phrases such as: “She has a broken heart.” “He is all heart.” “She spoke with such heartfelt words.” When we use such phrases we are not referring to the physical organ of a person but to a person’s loving values, attitudes, and dispositions. So on this feast of the Sacred Heart, we are pointing to the loving values, attitudes, and dispositions of the Risen Lord as he relates to us. The gospel today gives us a glimpse into the heart of Christ.
Jesus is using a favorite teaching tool—a parable. He talks about a real life situation and then transposes the reaction onto God. We all know how we behave when we lose our keys. Even though the car is still in the garage, the refrigerator is full, the sun is shining, and the children are happily playing, we have one focus: finding the keys. We turn everything upside down in our search. And once found, we rejoice.
So our God, the Good Shepherd, searches everywhere to find that person who has separated himself from God’s love and protection. This is so clearly portrayed in Francis Thompson’s “Hound of Heaven.” God pursues the lost soul will all God’s energy. The feast of the Sacred Heart is the feast of the Love of God for all men and women, both those close to him and those who try to keep their distance.
—Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. is associate vice-president for Mission and Ministry at Marquette University where he is also pastoral minister for the College of Education and McCabe Residence Hall.
Grant we, we pray, Almighty God,
that we who glory in the Heart of your
beloved Son and recall the wonders of
his love for us, may be made worthy to
receive an overflowing of grace from
that fount of heavenly gifts. Amen!
—Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. is associate vice-president for Mission and Ministry at Marquette University where he is also pastoral minister for the College of Education and McCabe Residence Hall.Please share the Good Word with your friends!