Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
I don’t know about you, but I often get tired of praying to God for help in controlling areas of habitual sin in my life. How many years have I been praying to be more patient? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to ask God to help me control my tongue. l started to wonder if God is as frustrated with me as I am with my unresolved sinful patterns. After reading the following excerpt from Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel via Catholic Online, I felt a sense of peace and renewed hope, and unbelievably I felt joy. It was reassuring to know that God is always there for us with open arms to welcome us as we continuously, sometimes even daily ask Him to help us with sinful habits. We only need to approach Him with empty hands and an open heart; He will never reject us. God reassures us that He is here for us always and rejoices in doing so. I don’t know about you, but knowing this brings me joy. I take joy in knowing that having to depend on God daily for the control of my worst habits are something He delights in; He has joy in being there to meet our needs.
Words of encouragement from Pope Francis…
“3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.
Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven.
Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!…” Source: http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=53319