Today’s Gospel invites us to reflect upon three parables all with much the same message, the parable of the lost sheep and the shepherding leaving the 99 to go and find the one that is lost; the woman who searches everywhere for her lost coin; and the famous parable of the prodigal son. What can we draw from these three parables?

There are many lessons to be learnt, however we will focus upon just one point in this reflection. One of the greatest things about true love is that it never gives up seeking the bet for the other person. Even though the father of the prodigal son knows that his son has just wasted his inheritance on a life of debauchery, he does not love him any less and he seeks to restore him to the his rightful place as his son once again. Both the shepherd and the woman give all their efforts to finding their lost sheep and coin respectively. This is what true love is all about!

Love never seeks to harm another person. Yes, sometimes it may be necessary to hurt someone a little in order to teach them a lesson, but this sort of hurt or harm is not intended as such, but as the means to teach the person something important. Love will always tend towards thinking the best of the other person no matter what the circumstances might be! This can be a very difficult thing to do, as when others sin against us, it is hard to think the best of them. It is hard to put our grievance to one side and to choose to love them rather than choosing to seek revenge. Love always wants the best for the other person even if it comes at a cost to ourselves.

The ‘love that never gives up’ portrayed in these parables is the love that God has fro each of us. It is the love that characterises the Kingdom of God. It is the love that we all must seek to grow in if we are going to deepen our relationship with Jesus.

Am I someone who perseveres through the difficult times in a relationship or do I tend to give up and wait until better times come around again? Am I really committed to loving my friends or do I tend to use them for my own gain?

Lord Jesus, you loved us to the end by dying on the cross for me. Thank you for the commitment of your love. Help me to grow in my ability to love you and all of my brothers and sisters around me.