We find many problems in today’s gospel – a sheep got lost, a coin was mislaid, and a son left home. Yet the main theme is to Rejoice. Jesus rejoices at the repentance of a sinner more than remembers the sin. Not just because he has said sorry, but because his turning to God makes God happy. He seems to want to give the best of himself – his mercy.

Receiving and opening to mercy is our destiny. We are at our best in receiving the mercy of God and the forgiveness of another. We belong to the community of mercy. The sheep belonged in the sheepfold and now is back, a happy sheep on the shoulders of Jesus. The coin belonged on the crown a lady wore – her dowry – and the coin was back where it belonged. Shepherd and lady were rejoicing, not giving out to the sheep nor giving out about the coin. With the mercy of God we are back where we belong – in the love of God. We rejoice in this and God rejoices in our happiness with him.

If we can be grateful for mercy in our lives, then we will rejoice for mercy shown to others. Mercy heals desires for revenge and lessening anger. Then we are sharing in the joy of Jesus. ‘It is the beating heart of the gospel (Pope Francis). Remember a time in your life when you felt the mercy of God or the forgiveness and understanding of another. Be grateful! Lord Jesus, have mercy on me and heal the wounds of my sin.

Source: Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger