Daily Reflection – 12/6/2022
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18: 12-14)
Today’s scripture is one that all of us have read, heard and been comforted by. The comfort, of course, comes from our belief that Jesus is the shepherd who leaves the 99 and goes after the one who is lost. He does not stop until he finds that one sheep.
Jesus is that Good Shepherd who will gather and carry the lambs next to his heart and tenderly lead the ewes, but that’s only the start. He’ll also go out in search of the lost sheep, leaving everyone else behind, all the way to laying down his life for every single one of his wandering flock. Jesus asks, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? From it he draws a lesson, “In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” This is an unforgettable lesson of God’s mercy, that he cares for us in such a way that he doesn’t want to lose any one of us, but that he wants to forgive us all.
Yet, there is another blessing in this scripture. To do it, I ask that you think of yourself as a shepherd.
Haven’t we all been shepherds with a hundred sheep? Many of us must juggle many responsibilities. There are too many demands at work, too many needs in our children, too many ways we must grow and communicate with our spouse, too many soccer games we must drive our children to, too many friendships we must maintain. Since we are shepherds with a hundred sheep, it is likely that, sooner or later, we will lose one of them. When we recognize that someone or something valuable in our lives has been lost, today’s gospel prompts us to think about whether we are willing to go out to find it again.
What is something valuable that you may have lost in your life: a relationship, because of a misunderstanding or hurt, someone who simply left your life without you noticing it, someone that you always presumed would be there but when you looked you found that he or she was gone? Could you have lost a sense of happiness or enthusiasm? Did you once have a sense of joy that somehow slipped away when you were busy attending other things? The question that springs up next is what are we willing to do to get back whomever or whatever we have lost. Perhaps today is the time that we need to pick up the phone and call a friend that we have not spoken to in way too long. Today could be the opportunity to test the waters and see if it’s possible to forgive a family member. Today could be the day that we challenge ourselves to be a model of love and compassion and let those virtues bring us to a healing.
Now, of course, there’s no guarantee that if we go out looking for what we have lost, we will find it. But today’s gospel asks us to try. And it assures us that if we find what we have lost, there will be great joy—joy enough to call together our family and friends and say “I thought she was gone for good. I thought I would never laugh again. But rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.”
Prayer of The Day
Lord, help me to know and love Your gentle voice throughout my daily life. May that voice overwhelm all others that compete for my attention. I choose You, dear Lord, as my one Shepherd and guide. Jesus, I trust in You.
We should be thankful for what God has given to us. Our shepherd has provided for us. We have food. We have safety. And, yes, we have one another. Moreover, if we are successful in being people of integrity, generosity, and service, then those are gifts from God as well. To live as he taught us means that we learn to use those gifts so that we can forgive and learn to love.