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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (C)

1st Reading (Ezek 34:11-16): Thus says the Lord God: «I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel in the land's ravines and all its inhabited places. In good pastures will I pasture them, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing ground. There they shall lie down on good grazing ground, and in rich pastures shall they be pastured on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly».
Responsorial Psalm: 22
R/. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.
2nd Reading (Rom 5:5-11): Brothers and sisters: The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:14): Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord, I know my sheep, and mine know me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 15:3-7): Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."

“Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep”

Fr. Pedro IGLESIAS Martínez (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. From time immemorial, people have been “physically” placing in their hearts the best and the worst of the human race. Christ shows us his, with the scars of our sins, as a symbol of his love for all people, and it is from this very Heart, where past, present and future History is revitalized and renewed, where we can contemplate and understand the joy of He who has found what He had lost.

“Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep” (Lk 9:6). When we hear these words, we always tend to place ourselves in the group of the ninety-nine upright who do not need to repent, and observe “from a distance” how Jesus offers salvation to others who happen to be much worse than us. Not at all! Jesus' joy has a name and a face: mine, yours, his... we all are “the lost sheep” because of our sins; so we better stop adding fuel to the flames of our arrogance, while we think we are fully converted.

We live in a time where the concept of sin is played down or is even denied, where the Sacrament of Penance is considered by some as something hard, sad, and obsolete. But the Lord, in his parable, speaks only of celebration, and He does not do it only here, but all throughout the Gospels. Zaccheus, after having been forgiven, invites Jesus to eat to celebrate his conversion (cf. Lk 19:1-9); the prodigal's father forgives him and offers a party for his return (cf. Lk 15,11-32), and the Good Shepherd rejoices for his found lamb that had wandered off the trail.

St. Josemaria Escrivá said: “A man is worth what his heart is worth.” Let us meditate from Luke's Gospel whether the price —which appears on our heart's price tag— compares with the ransom the Sacred Heart of Jesus has paid for each one of us.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “And you, redeemed man, see Who is hanging for you on the cross; how great He is.” (Saint Bonaventure)

  • “The very core of Christianity is expressed in the heart of Jesus: the Love that saves us and even now makes us live in the eternity of God.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners. The angel announced to Joseph: ‘You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’ (Mt 1:21). The same is true of the Eucharist, the sacrament of redemption: ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mt 26:28).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 1846)