Lost Sheep

Readings for Thursday November 4, 2010

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

First Reading: Philippians 3:3-8a
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105
Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus addressed this parable to them. “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. (Lk 15:1-7)

Today we hear the parable of the lost sheep and the great joy over finding the lost. Jesus tells those listening how much joy there will be in heaven over one sinner repenting than many other righteous people who do not need to repent. I am always blown away by this parable, because the shepherd leaves 99 other sheep to go look for one lost one. It is truly amazing that this is the same attitude of God. When we are lost, He seeks us out and carries us back when we are found. He does not say; "well one won't make a difference, I have 99 others." God doesn't give up on us, He loves us more than we can ever know, and when we are lost in this world, He wants us to be found.

From this parable I think often about how much we give up on other people in our lives. When people seem to veer we just think, "oh well, they are lost now, no use going to help or trying to find them." Many times we view helping others and helping to find others as an inconvenience. Thank goodness that God does not think or act this way. When we are lost, He help us along and is continuously allowing grace to flow in our lives so that we can be found. Of course, we do have to cooperate with that grace. And when those who are lost are found, we know that there will be great rejoicing in heaven!

Two things that I hope you will join me in thinking about today: 1) Am I more likely to give up on someone when they are lost? or am I more likely to go out and find them? 2) Where does your confidence lie, in Christ or in yourself?

Father above we thank you for the gift of this day. Guide us in all that we do, and glory be to you for all that we have and all that we are. Lord we pray for all those who are lost in this world and who do not know your love. May they be brought to the joy and peace that can only be found in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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