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God always forgives but…

“A FACE that only a mother can love,” so goes an old dictum. With God, that should be rephrased thus: “God loves faces that even mothers cannot love.”

In the Old Testament, this divine love is expressed in the book of Isaiah, which says: “Can a woman forget her baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I’ll never forget you” (Is. 49, 14).

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By the way, the above words of Isaiah inspired that poignant Tagalog song “Hindi Kita Malilimutan” which is very popular in funeral wakes.

In the New Testament, the image of a loving, forgiving God is illustrated in this 24th Sunday’s gospel about the “Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son” (Lk 15, 1 ff).

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God as the solicitous shepherd takes pains to look for the lost sheep. To search for one insignificant sheep leaving the ninety-nine goes against the principles of pasturing.

Shepherds never go after one lost sheep. They have greater responsibility for the ninety-nine. But this is not so with the Good Shepherd.

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A speaker once made an analogy. He held up a crisp hundred peso bill. “I want to give this away,” he said, “but first let me do this.”

Then he proceeded to crumple the money. “Who wants it?” he asked. Several hands were raised. He dropped the money on the ground and crushed it into the floor with his shoe.

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When he held up the bill again, it was now more crumpled and dirty. “Who still wants it?” he asked again. The same hands went up. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson,” he told them. “No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it. Why? Because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth one hundred pesos.”

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Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the sins we commit. We feel as though we are worthless, like the prodigal son.

But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

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ADMISSION OF GUILT. The other important lesson we can learn from the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” is WILLINGNESS to accept our mistake and change. We have always been taught that God’s love is “unconditional,” but the truth is there’s a condition. That is, we should be willing to admit we did wrong.

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It’s just like the relationship between parents and children. Children make mistakes and most parents understand this as part of the process of growing.

The trouble arises when the children do not feel sorry for their wrongdoings and want to do things their own way.

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The parents are helpless and can only pray for him. God, too, will always forgive us, but like the prodigal son, we should come to our senses and say, “I will return to my father.”

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Teacher: Ano ang pangalan ng pinakamalakas na bagyo? Juan: “Tukso” Mam. Teacher: Bakit tukso? Juan: Kasi po, kay rami nang winasak na tahanan, kayrami nang matang pinaluha at kayrami nang pusong sinugatan.

Note: The main cause of damage is not temptation (tukso) but sin. Temptation is an incitement but it can lead us to commit sin.

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