Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”(Luke 15:3-7)
To someone whose livelihood was based upon his flock, the loss of even one of his sheep would be significant. Therefore, the shepherd didn’t wait and hope the lost sheep wandered back to the flock; the shepherd left the flock and searched until he found the one that was lost. In the same way, Our Lord seeks out each one of us.
Christ is seeking each of us so that we might grow in our union with him through repentance and love. We heard the disciples experiencing this when they encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us…” (Luke 24:32).
It is from the heart of Christ that our hearts respond to. The foundational truth of Christianity is our belief that God, our Father loves each of us. The very existence of Jesus Christ and his death for us is a love story that has no measure.
We all believe in God. We all will express our conviction that God loves us and will save us. But when things are going well, when we are confident in our strength and success, when we are convinced that we can handle things on our own, God’s word sits on our hearts.
It cannot get inside, because our hearts are too full of ourselves. So, God’s word sits and waits until we fail, until we are hurt, until we have to struggle with sickness, addiction, pain, or death. It waits until our hearts break, then it falls gently inside and gives us both power and peace. Those who know their own need are the ones who can carry the word of God in their hearts. Those who struggle with weakness and failure are the ones who truly experience the power and peace of God’s presence. Those who are in need are those who truly believe.
Yet, the basic truth remains for us. Why can’t we so believe in his love that our hearts are aflame every moment of our lives? We simply need to stop and ponder the greatness of that love. Sit in silence. Think of the magnitude of the love that flows from the heart of Jesus. That is your gift as well as your shield. You live in his love. You walk in that love daily. It never leaves. It is your shield against anything. You are strengthened by it. That love permeates every fiber of your being. Never fear. Never feel abandoned. Never believe that you are alone. Never, never lose hope.
In every trial of life, that love is there to strengthen us. In fact, it is the trials of our life that lead us closer to God. By reaching out to him in trial, we come a step closer to experiencing that love. God’s word is sitting on our hearts, waiting to console and strengthen us. As difficult as our trials may be, they can lead us to God.
God chose you and I to love and cherish. He seeks only that we accept and act on that love every day. Every day. His love is eternal. He is there for you and me. He waits only for us to respond in His love.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, I believe that your heart is on fire with love for me—not just for me as part of the whole of creation, but me. I trust in your love that always reaches out to me and echoes in my heart, calling me to return to you when I stray. I ask you for the grace to experience your love and return your love more faithfully. “
It was God’s free choice to make us sons and daughters. As a result, we can be disciples not only when we are successful, but even when we fail. We can be holy not only when we feel God’s presence, but even in those times when we feel that God has abandoned us.