The Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the 31st Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 15:1-10.

After teaching about the extreme sacrifice required of disciples and the harsh realities of the Judgment, Christ offers a series of parables which reveal the overflowing Divine Mercy of God, a God who goes to great lengths, beyond the logic of men, to search out the lost and lavishly welcomes, forgives and blesses the repentant. 

As the Pharisees and the scribes mutter among themselves that Christ is coddling sinners, Christ begins with the Parable of the Lost Sheep, a marvelous parable which surely captured the attention, delight and surprise of the people who lived close to the flocks of sheep.  God (a man) has many souls (a flock of 100) for which He cares. When a single soul goes astray (the one lost sheep), God goes to great lengths (leaves the 99) to save the lost soul (find the lost sheep). Christ asks, “What man…would not leave the 99 in the wilderness…?). The answer is no man would leave his large flock to be ravaged by wolves to save a single sheep! That’s irrational! But God is not like man; He does search out for every single soul that is lost to sin and there is rejoicing in Heaven when a man repents.  

Similarly, the Parable of the Lost Coin describes  God’s desire to save lost souls. God (the woman) works diligently (lights a lamp, sweeps the floor) until the lost soul (the coin) is recovered. God calls the angels of Heaven together (woman calls her neighbors) to celebrate the salvation of every lost soul who repents (woman calls neighbors). God will never quit searching for the lost soul.  Never. 

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ offers an inside view of God’s hunger for the salvation of souls. Divine Teacher, Christ brilliantly teaches with wonderfully complex, surprising and powerful parables which continue to speak to men. Divine King, Christ is fearless in His willingness to confront the hateful Pharisees. Divine Mercy, Christ longs to save all souls, even those scheming to kill Him. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men enjoy clever stories and excellent speakers.  Christ is the greatest orator of all time.  Marvel at how Christ has the ability to viscerally connect with people through His amazingly concise, relevant and life changing parables which continue to have impact 2000 years after the Incarnation. 

2) Men, lost in the world, often live in the moment, blind to the eternal realities. Contemplate the truth that God, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, all the saints and angels are rooting for you personally (a lost sheep/coin), desiring for you to be drawn out of sin into holiness. Reflect upon the Intercession of the Saints (CCC 956, 1434, 2683, 2692) and thank Christ for all the saints who are praying for you.  

3) Despite the depth and duration of a man’s sin as he wanders away from the Church, Christ joyfully welcomes all men who repent. Reflect upon the need to Reconcile with the Church (CCC 1443-1445), examine your conscience, go to Confession and be blessed the forgiveness of your sins by Christ.