Preached at Holy Sepulcher Parish on April 2, 2017 at 7:00PM Penance Service
One day a shepherd was out looking for one of his lost sheep. He found the sheep, but he was sad, because while looking for it, he lost the Bible that he always carried with him. A few weeks later, another sheep walked up to him carrying his beloved Bible in its mouth. The shepherd couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the sheep’s mouth, looked up to heaven and said, “It’s a miracle!”
“Not really,” said the sheep. “You wrote your name on the inside cover.”
How different this shepherd is from the Good Shepherd, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is never sad when finds one of his lost sheep. He rejoices. He doesn’t care what he loses along the way to find us. He lost his life on a cross for us after all. Jesus doesn’t care what sins we have committed, he just wants to take them from us and release us from their burden.
Tonight is more than about getting rid of sin, although these priests will be here until it has all been eradicated, but it is about restoring our relationship with our Lord. Relationships require forgiveness because we are human and make mistakes and do dumb things to the ones we love, including our God. But each time we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation our relationship with God is restored and renewed. Tonight our Lord will lift up his beloved lost sheep, just like the shepherd in today’s gospel. We will be lifted up by his grace so that our relationship will be restored, to grow, thrive, and bear fruit, deeper and stronger than ever.
Today’s gospel says that there is rejoicing among the angels and joy in heaven when one sinner repents. There is way more than one of us here tonight and our relationship with the Lord is about to be restored.
Tonight let us rejoice and be glad with all the hosts of heaven!