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Think of someone who has perhaps never been told, “You are important to God.” Tell him, “Though you are not searching for God, he is searching for you.”
This is the invitation Pope Francis made to the faithful this September 11, 2022, in light of the Gospel reading of the Prodigal Son, or as John Paul II preferred, the reading of the Merciful Father.
The readings of this Sunday have three parables of mercy, wherein a shepherd, a woman, and a father are all missing something.
“One who loves is concerned about the one who is missing, longs for who is absent, seeks who is lost, awaits who has gone astray,” the Pope said.
He invited the faithful to “imitate the Lord in this,” to be “anxious about what is missing.”
Ask yourself this:
He suggested some questions to ask ourselves:
Do we have nostalgia for those who are missing, who have drifted from Christian life?
Do we carry this inner restlessness, or are we serene and undisturbed among ourselves?
Do we truly miss those who are missing from our communities, or do we pretend and not let it touch our hearts?
Do I truly miss those who are missing in my life?
“It is not a question merely of being ‘open to others,’ it is the Gospel! The shepherd of the parable did not say, ‘I have another 99 sheep, why should I waste time to go and look for the lost one?’ Instead, he went to look.”
Take stock of your relationships
The Pope exhorted:
Let us then reflect on our relationships: Do I pray for those who do not believe, who have drifted away, who are bitter? Do we attract those who are distant through the style of God, which is closeness, compassion and tenderness?
“The Father,” he said, “asks us to be attentive to the children he misses the most.”
Let us think of someone we know, who is close to us and has perhaps never heard anyone say, “You know, you are important to God.”
“But I am in an irregular situation, I have done this bad thing, that other one…”.
“You are important to God,” say to him. “You are not searching for him, but he is searching for you.”
Let us – men and women with restless hearts – be troubled by these questions, and pray to Our Lady, a mother who never tires of searching for and taking care of us, her children.