Today’s Thoughts: Years ago, I ran across a quote by the English theologian, Austin Farrer. I often use it for my own personal prayer. “God forgives me, for he takes my head between his hands and turns my face to his to make me smile at him. And though I struggle and hurt those hands – for they are human, though divine, human and scarred with nails – though I hurt them, they do not let go until he has smiled me into smiling; and that is the forgiveness of God.”
Perhaps these words by Austin Farrer can be useful for our reflection today. In the readings today from Isaiah (Isaiah 40: 1-11) and Matthew (Matthew 18: 12-14) we hear about the compassion and love of God. The prophet Isaiah and the evangelist Matthew embrace the image of a shepherd in telling their story of God. Isaiah’s shepherd is feeding, holding and caring for his sheep. Matthew’s shepherd is tirelessly searching for that one lost sheep. Both images communicate the unrelenting and timeless care and concern of a God for his people. The Good News which Isaiah and Matthew impart on us today is that God is always loving, caring and forgiving.
The image that Austin Farrer paints engages us in a personal way to encounter God’s care, love and forgiveness. We are asked to feel Jesus holding us, holding us so tenderly and lovingly that in the end we have to smile. At first it is an uncomfortable smile as we think about how often we have hurt, disappointed or turned away from him. However, in his shepherding hands all is well, all is forgiven, and all are loved.
Have a blessed Tuesday everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...