Christ is risen!
Indeed He is risen!
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (John 6:35-39)
Jesus says He will never cast out or send away anyone who comes to Him (and according to Matthew 19:14, this includes children). Not only will He embrace anyone who comes to Him, He will be their food and drink so that they shall never hunger or thirst! This should give great hope to all of us, even if we know we have committed serious sins. If we come to Christ He will accept us because that is His Father’s will. Christ promises to raise all of us from the dead at the end of time as His Father wills. The monk John Moschos (d. 619AD) relates a story from the Desert Fathers about a harlot who some monks almost chased away from Christ.
“Two elders set off from Aegaion to Tarsos in Cilicia. By the providence of God, they came to an inn where they could rest, for the heat was intense.
There they found three younger men who had a harlot with them going to Aegaion. The three elders sat discreetly apart; one of them took the holy gospel out of his travelling-bag and began to read <aloud>. When the harlot who was with the youths saw the elder begin to read, she came and sat down near him, forsaking the youths. The elder drove her off, saying to her: ‘Wretched woman, you seem very indecent. Are you not ashamed to come and sit near us?’ In reply she answered: ‘Oh father, please do not treat me with loathing. Even if I am filled with every kind of sin, the master of all, our Lord and God, did not send away the harlot who came to him.’ The elder answered her: ‘But that harlot remained a harlot no longer.’ She said to him: ‘My hope is in the Son of the living God that from this day forward neither will I continue in this sin.’ Forsaking the youths and everything she had, she followed the elders.
They placed her in a <women’s> monastery called Nakkiba, near Aegaion. I saw her as an old woman of great experience. It was from her that I heard all this and her name was Mary.” (THE SPIRITUAL MEADOW, pp 22-23)
[Just a not of speculation: The above story from John Moschos is entitled “The Conversion and Life of Mary the Harlot.” It made me wonder if this happens to be a different and simpler (earlier?) version of the Life of St Mary of Egypt whose life was written by by St. Sophronius of Jerusalem and appeared about 20 years after John Moschos died. It is possible that St Sophronius or another person embellished the original simple story, or that more than one version of her life came down through history (just as there are 4 versions of the Gospel). Later writers sometimes embellished hagiographies to make them ever more miraculous with the intent of making them more ‘edifying’ for monks.]