God’s will is to save us, and nothing pleases Him more than our coming back to Him with true repentance. … It was precisely in order to show that there is nothing closer to God’s heart that the divine Word of God…lived among us in the flesh, and did, suffered, and said all that was necessary to reconcile us to God the Father, when we were at enmity with Him. … He also taught us in many different ways that we should wish to imitate Him by our own kindness and genuine love for one another.
So it was that Christ proclaimed that He had come to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous, and that it was not the healthy who required a doctor, but the sick. … To give the same lesson He revived the man who, having fallen into the hands of the brigands, had been left stripped and half-dead from his wounds; he poured wine and oil on the wounds, bandaged them, placed the man on his own mule and brought him to an inn, where he left sufficient money to have him cared for, and promised to repay any further expense on his return.
Again, He told of how that Father, who is goodness itself, was moved with pity for his profligate son who returned and made amends by repentance; how he embraced him, dressed him once more in the fine garments that befitted his own dignity, and did not reproach him for any of his sins.
So too, when He found wandering in the mountains and hills the one sheep that had strayed from God’s flock of a hundred, He brought it back to the fold, but He did not exhaust it by driving it ahead of Him. Instead, He placed it on His own shoulders and so, compassionately, He restored it safely to the flock.
Accept my yoke, He said, by which He meant His commands, or rather, the whole way of life that He taught us in the Gospel. He then speaks of a burden, but that is only because repentance seems difficult. In fact, however, my yoke is easy, He assures us, and my burden is light.
St. Maximos the Confessor
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