The talk from last night’s Witnesses to Hope talk, “Waiting in Hope,” is now available here.
This wasn't just plain terrible,
this was fancy terrible.
This was terrible with raisins in it.
More and more of my clinic time is devoted to evaluation and treatment of depression and anxiety rather than sore throats, coughs, UTIs and sprains/strains. An outbreak of overwhelming misery is climbing to epidemic proportions in our society. A majority of the patients who are coming in for mental health assessment are at the point where their symptoms are interfering with nearly every aspect of their daily activities and they can no longer cope.
2013-11-07 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Finding the lost sheep is a joy to God, because he has a “loving weakness” for those who are lost. These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Mass on Thursday morning in Casa Santa Marta.
Commenting on the parables of the lost sheep and of the lost coin, Pope Francis talked about the attitude of the scribes and the Pharisees, who were scandalised by the things that Jesus did. They murmured against him: “This man is dangerous, he eats with the publicans and the sinners, he offends God, he desecrates the ministry of the prophet to accost these people”. Jesus, the Pope explained, says that this “is the music of hypocrisy”, and “answers this hypocrisy with a parable”.
“He replies to this murmuring with a joyful parable. The words ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’ appear in this short text four times: three times joy, and once happiness. “And you” – it’s as if he were saying – “you are scandalised by this, but my Father rejoices”. That is the most profound message of this story: the joy of God, a God who doesn’t like to lose. God is not a good loser, and this is why, in order not to lose, He goes out on his own, and He goes, He searches. He is a God who searches: He searches for all those who are far away from Him, like the shepherd who goes to search for the lost sheep.”
The work of God, the Pope continued, is to “go and search”, in order to “invite everyone to the celebrations, good and bad”.
“He can’t stand losing one of His own. And this is the prayer of Jesus, too, on Holy Thursday: “Father, may none get lost, of those You have given to me”. He is a God who walks around searching for us, and has a certain loving weakness for those who are furthest away, who are lost. He goes and searches for them. And how does he search? He searches until the end, like the shepherd who goes out into the darkness, searching, until he finds the sheep. Or like the woman, when she loses a coin, who lights a lamp and sweeps the house, and searches carefully. That’s how God searches. “I won’t lose this son, he’s mine! And I don’t want to lose him.” This is our Father: he always comes searching for us.”
Then, Pope Francis explained, “when he has found the sheep” and brought it back into the fold with the others, no one must say ‘you are lost’, but everyone should say ‘you are one of us’, because this returns dignity to the lost sheep. “There is no difference”, because God “returns to the fold everyone he finds. And when he does this, he is a God who rejoices”.
“The joy of God is not the death of the sinner, but the life of the sinner. And how far from this were those who murmured against Jesus, how far from the heart of God! They didn’t know Him. They thought that being religious, being good people meant always being well-mannered and polite, and often pretending to be polite, right? This is the hypocrisy of the murmuring. But the joy of God the Father, in fact, is love. He loves us. “But I’m a sinner, I’ve done this and that and the other!” “But I love you anyway, and I go out searching for you, and I bring you home.” This is our Father. Let’s reflect on this.”
Did you ever wonder about Mizar in Ps 42--where it was and what was its significance? (Maybe you didn't, but have I piqued your curiosity?) Here's Amy Carmichael's take on it:
Ps 42.6 The Hill Mizar
Did you ever feel that you had nothing great enough to be called a trouble, and yet you very much needed help? I have been finding much encouragement in the hill Mizar.
You can hide nothing from God.
The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him.
He wants to see you as you are,
He wants to be gracious to you.
You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers,
as if you were without sin;
you can dare to be a sinner.
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
- Mark Twain
Ultimately the bond of all companionship...
- Oscar Wilde
What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are
joined for life--to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow,
Today’s gospel is one of my very favorite readings: I did a study once on all the New Testament scriptures that talk about women at the feet of Jesus. In today’s gospel, it says that the woman “covered his feet with kisses” (Lk 7:38). Jesus himself remarks on this to Simon (at whose house he was) and actually upbraids him for not welcoming Him in the same fashion. “You did not give me a kiss . . . “ Let not the same be said of us. Let us then not hold back our kisses for His sacred feet. Mother Teresa once said something to the effect that if we don’t put our drop in the ocean, the ocean is one drop less. The same can be said for kissing the feet of Jesus: if we don’t give Him our kiss, He has received one less kiss . . . and it will be missed by Him. And note . . . for those of you who hold back because of your faults and failings . . . it was the kiss of a sinful woman that He valued.
“The moments of helpless need are the blessed times.”