THE JOY OF REPENTANCE
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him, to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’ So he told them this parable: ‘What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Lk 15: 1-7)
Indeed, the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes is no fun at all. They just “grumble” in their same old way all the time, finding fault with every little and big thing the Lord does. But the tax collectors and sinners “draw near to him,” with their ears, eyes, and hearts wide open to joyous, humble fellowship with the God-Man. And their openness to receiving Him, – to receiving His light and truth, – opens their lives to change; to the adventure of “repentance,” (or “meta-noia,” which means “change of mind” or “change of focus”).
Let me be teachable today, that I may be open to the change(s) God wants for me. Let me “draw near” to Him, not as one who has it all figured out, but as one lost, and in need of being carried home, on the shoulders of One much stronger than me. Let me stop wandering about in circles, in my own head, and hand myself over to Him today. “Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes!”