Here is the next Bible verse in our Bible reading programme. Everyone is invited to read over and think carefully about the Bible verse and how it may apply to them. The Bible verse can stimulate us to pray.
“…….This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2
How might this inform how we welcome people personally and in Church?
At times religious groups seem to condemn or exclude people. Sometimes as individuals we exclude people from our groups or friendship circles. Jesus was criticised for the generous welcome he gave to all, especially those on the margins.
Here is the passage from which today’s Bible verse comes. (Luke 15. 1-7)
Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?
When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.
Pope Francis has said: “The joy of God is not the death of the sinner, but the life of the sinner. And how far from this were those who murmured against Jesus, how far from the heart of God! They didn’t know Him. They thought that being religious, being good people meant always being well-mannered and polite, and often pretending to be polite, right? This is the hypocrisy of the murmuring. But the joy of God the Father, in fact, is love. He loves us. “But I’m a sinner, I’ve done this and that and the other!” “But I love you anyway, and I go out searching for you, and I bring you home.” This is our Father. Let’s reflect on this.”
Thank God in prayer that you are welcomed joyfully in God’s abundant love.