God’s Forgiving Love

“God’s love is like that of a foolish shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep in order to search for the one that has been lost.  It is like a woman, who for the sake of one lost coin, sweeps every corner of the house and is not satisfied until she finds it.  God is like the father watching the road for his son who had squandered his share of the family inheritance; when he spots him, forgetting about his dignity, runs to meet him, embraces and kisses him.  He does not even wait until the son finishes his confession of sins but has the finest robes put on him and orders a splendid banquet. . . This festive banquet to which the sinner and the Pharisee are both invited is the central image of the Kingdom.  In Jesus’ message metanoia, a complete change of heart, and way of life, begins with accepting this invitation to God’s banquet. Accepting the invitation includes the grateful acceptance of God’s undeserved forgiveness of our sins and the adopting of God’s forgiving attitude toward those who have sinned against us.  If we do not imitate God’s forgiveness toward those who have offended us, God will revoke the forgiveness of our own sins (Mt. 18:21).  Thus, the love of their enemies becomes the most characteristic attitude of those who undergo metanoia.”   (Roch Kereszky, O.Cist. Jesus Christ: Fundamentals of Christology, p. 113)