God’s Efforts to Save Sinners

This is beautiful, an excerpt from a homily from St. Alphonsus Liguori:

Should a subject who has rebelled against an earthly monarch go into the presence of his sovereign to ask pardon, the prince instantly banishes the rebel from his sight, and does not condescend even to look at him. But God does not treat us in this manner, when we go with humility before him to implore mercy and forgiveness. “The Lord your God is merciful, and will not turn away his face from you if you return to him.” (2 Par. xxx. 9.) God cannot turn away his face from those who cast themselves at his feet with an humble and contrite heart.
Jesus himself has protested that he will not reject any one who returns to him. “And him that cometh to me, I will not cast out.” (John vi. 37.) But how can he reject those whom he himself invites to return, and promises to embrace?” Return to me, saith the Lord, and I will receive thee.” (Jer. iii. 1.) In another place he says: Sinners, I ought to turn my back on you, because you first turned your back on me; but be converted to me, and I will be converted to you. “Turn to me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn to you, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zach. i.3.)
Oh! with what tenderness does God embrace a sinner that returns to him! This tenderness
Jesus Christ wished to declare to us when he said that he is the good pastor, who, as soon as
he finds the lost sheep, embraces it and places it on his own shoulders. ”And when he hath
found it, doth he not lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing?” (Luke xv. 5.) This tenderness also
appears in the parable of the prodigal son, in which Jesus Christ tells us that he is the good
father, who, when his lost son returns, goes to meet him, embraces and kisses him, and, as it
were, swoons away through joy in receiving him. ”And running to him, he fell upon his neck
and kissed him.” (Luke xv. 20.)
God protests that when sinners repent of their iniquities, he will forget all their sins, as if
they had never offended him. “But, if the wicked do penance for all the sins which he hath
committed. .. .living, he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities
that he hath done.” (Ezech. xviii. 21,22.) By the Prophet Isaias, the Lord goes so far as to say:
“Come and accuse me, saith the Lord. If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as
snow.” (Isa. i. 18.) Mark the words, Come and accuse me. As if the Lord said: Sinners, come to me, and if I do not pardon and embrace you, reprove me, upbraid me with violating my
promise. But no! God cannot despise an humble and contrite heart. “A contrite and humble
heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Ps. l. 19.)
To show mercy and grant pardon to sinners, God regards as redounding to his own glory.
“And therefore shall he be exalted sparing you.” (Isa. xxx. 18.) The holy Church says, that
God displays his omnipotence in granting pardon and mercy to sinners. ”O God, who
manifested thy omnipotence in sparing and showing mercy.” Do not imagine, dearly beloved
sinners, that God requires of you to labour for a long time before he grants you pardon: as
soon as you wish for forgiveness, he is ready to give it. Behold what the Scripture says:
”Weeping, thou shalt not weep, he will surely have pity on thee.” (Isa. xxx. 19.) You shall not
have to weep for a long time: as soon as you shall have shed the tirst tear through sorrow for
your sins, God will have mercy on you. ”At the voice of thy cry, as soon as he shall hear, he
will answer thee.” (Ibid.) The moment he shall hear you say: Forgive me, my God, forgive me, he will instantly answer and grant your pardon.