Our readings this week speak to mercy and forgiveness.  The scribes and Pharisees are angry that Jesus eats with sinners.  Jesus responds with a parable that gives three examples of rejoicing over that which was lost but is now found.  He challenges us to not focus on the errors of the past but rather on the victories of today.  We should rejoice when someone finds their way forward and not judge them or condemn them for their past.  And we should recognize that each person has great worth.  God calls us to embrace each person for their true value as a reflection of God – just as He embraces each of us with overflowing love and mercy.

As Vincentians, we come face to face every day with individuals who are trying desperately to ‘find their way home.’  We should embrace them with total love and mercy, devoid of judgment of decisions they have made in the past.   We work to seek out the poor that we might help them to move forward and that we might rejoice with them.  We see in them the presence of God and the hope of His love.  We should approach our work with great humility, recognizing that it is God who both graces us with the capacity to help and graces those we help with the capacity have hope.  He gives us the opportunity to minister to and rejoice with our brothers and sisters one at a time.  Do I humbly accept each ‘success’ as a gift from God and rejoice giving glory to Him for the opportunity to help and the hope that is shared?  Do I look beyond the depth of poverty before me, to see the individual joys for the grace that they are?

Lord Jesus, help me to rejoice in the success of each person that we help.  Allow me to focus on the victories one person at a time without judgment of past mistakes.  Give me the passion to embrace each person in love and mercy, recognizing your presence within each individual.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike