Introduction to “God’s Mercy Runs to Meet Us,” a pastoral letter published by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley on the occasion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Jesus is the face of the Father's mercy and love. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus taught that God's ways toward sinners and the "lost" were different from the harsh ways of the Pharisees and other leaders at the time. Jesus' acts of compassion and his teachings of the Father's mercy are the "beating heart of the Gospel."
At the beginning of his fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, the evangelist writes that the Pharisees are complaining that Jesus is a friend of sinners and is eating with them. Jesus responds to their gripes by sharing three stories -- the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and then the lost (or prodigal) son. When what was lost is found, Jesus tells us that God and all of heaven rejoices.