I sat across the table from my friend and listened as she aired her grievances against the Church. She was living in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, of which she was aware, and she was frustrated that she was “not allowed” to receive Communion unless she went to Confession and worked to change her situation (which she was unwilling to do).
“I guess the Church is saying that God doesn’t love me if I’m not perfect in this exact way.”
Sometimes we believe the lie that when we sin, God leaves us. But the truth—and what the Church teaches—is that when we sin, we choose something else over God. When we choose mortal sin, we leave the Lord. Not the other way around. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church 1855.)
Today’s Gospel parable proves it. Jesus identifies Himself as a shepherd who sets off from the majority of His flock in order to find a single sheep who got too distracted, too lazy, or too stubborn to stay close. The shepherd doesn’t shrug it off and say, “Eh, we’ll be alright with 99.” No, He actively and relentlessly seeks out the lost sheep. (See Luke 15:3-6.)
Saint Paul emphasizes this point in the First Reading. “[W]hether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living” (Romans 14:8-9).
This is why Christ died and came to life. And while Paul’s most obvious reference here is to physical life and death, the same idea is true for spiritual life and death.
Jesus never leaves us or stops loving us when we sin. On the contrary, He gave His life so that we would be His whether we are with the 99 or if we’re a little lost and dead inside. When we sin, we’re the ones who leave. And even when we leave, He never stops lighting His lamp, leaving the 99, or calling us His own.
So let’s resolve to stop leaving Him. And let’s allow Him to find us.
Need a little help examining your conscience and being confident in getting to Confession this week? Review our BiS blog post here.
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.