The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

31st Week in Ordinary Time

Date: 
Thu, 11/05/2015
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

As I prepare couples for marriage
I help them explore their likes and dislikes, their developed preferences.
And I encourage them to share in the other person’s interests.
It is not necessary to like all the same things.
But sharing in the other person’s life entails accompanying them, being with them,
as they participate in activities that bring them delight.
We might not like dancing the waltz or romantic movies
but we can surely connect with the  other person on a deeper level by going along
for the mere purpose of enjoying them enjoying themselves.
To see and experience someone we love laughing, being happy, finding pleasure in this or that, can be and is a source of joy for us.
We go, not for ourselves, but for them.  And their joy brings us joy.
 
Jesus reveals to us one of God’s greatest joys: the repentance of a sinner,
the return of a lost soul to the flock.
God throws a party with the repentant sinner as the guest of honor.
God makes a public spectacle, a display of unimaginable joy.
He wants the world to see just how happy he is
because someone who was lost to him will now be counted among the saved.
 
How often do we focus on the sin of the other—
how there will be hell to pay because of the problems caused, the damage done,
and how we hope the sinner will get his or her just desserts,
a taste of the suffering and distress this person has caused for others?
 
How rarely do we focus on God’s elation when the sinner repents, seeks forgiveness.
Why can’t we enjoy God’s enjoyment?
Why can’t we join the celebration, welcome the other as God welcomes them?
Because it isn’t fair; this is not how life is supposed to work.  Sinners should be punished.  They’ve broken the law and now it seems they’re getting away with it.
They’ve enjoyed all their ill-gotten gain and now they’re going to enjoy heaven as well.
At best they should be put at the end of the line behind all the good people,
not named “man or woman of the year”.  God’s really twisting things up.
Maybe it’s time to ask: “is there anyone else up there who we can commit to
who will do better at celebrating loyal followers rather than repent sinners?”
There’s no one else up there.  God is God.  We can take him or leave him.  The choice is ours.
 
Jesus has come into the world to reveal God’s mercy.
This mercy far exceeds all restrictions humans put on their sinful neighbors.
Our task is to seek an understanding of this mercy and in turn, relate to others, especially sinners,
in light of this mercy, after the example of this mercy.
 
One of the bottom lines in life is this:  we will never be truly happy until we are willing to share in God’s joy as he dispenses salvation.
 
“Help me, O Lord, to love sinners and to joyfully welcome them when they return to the flock.  Amen!”