The readings for this Sunday celebrate the boundless mercy God offers to us, regardless of our sins, and the joy that comes from repentance.

In the First Reading, the fragile faith of the Israelites has faltered, and they worship the calf they have created out of molten metal. Moses pleads the cause of the people, and God relents from destroying them, despite their lack of faith.

The Psalmist, recognising the depth of his sinfulness, trusts in God’s mercy. He pleads with God to strengthen the spirit within, offering a ‘humbled, contrite’ heart.

The Second Reading recalls the multitude of sins the young Saul committed against the faith before his conversion. Despite this, when he repented of these sins he was shown great mercy, and was filled with the grace and love of Christ. We are reminded again that Jesus came into the world to save all sinners.

In the Gospel we hear Jesus’s powerful teaching about seeking whatever is lost, and the joy that comes when it is found again. Here he speaks of a lost sheep and a lost coin, but the heart of his message is the joy of God’s loving mercy, which is poured out upon us when we repent of our sins.

This week, let’s keep in mind all those who are lost and searching for something – perhaps for a loved one who has gone astray; for forgiveness; for love or peace; or for meaning in life itself. We ask the Lord to be with all of us in our searching, and bring us the joy of finding what we seek.