December 7, Tuesday, Second Week of Advent
Daily Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 96:1-2, 3 and 10ac, 11-12, 13 & Matthew 18:12-14
Both readings today use the image and character of the shepherd caring for his flock and the Gospel speaks of the shepherd leaving ninety-nine sheep in order to look for the one that is lost. This picture is another description of God sending the Son to take on human life.
In the first reading, "Here is your God!" He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that are young.
The Gospel speaks of the shepherd leaving ninety-nine sheep in order to look for the one that is lost.
Let us reflect on the character of the shepherd and our experience of the lost. Leaving the ninety-nine to go after the stray is Jesus's way of stressing that the people he wants to meet are sinners because we are all sinners. Everyone, of us, is that one. Jesus rejoices when we turn back, and so do we. Real Christian joy is the joy of the forgiven sinner.
This parable tells us something about God: He is always looking for us, no matter how far we turn away. It tells us something about ourselves, that no matter how far away from God we may be, or how difficult things may get for us, we only have to turn to God and he will look after us.
The shepherd-king is compassion and mercy itself. He is the shepherd who will not rest until he has found the stray.
What kind of heart do you have as a shepherd?
Do you see around you these neglected, forgotten, unloved, homeless, and abandoned? When you see them, how do you feel and treat them? How many of us take the initiative to seek out the people most in need?
The lost ones in our society are obvious enough, especially in our cities: the homeless, the street people including children, the abused, the abandoned, and the unemployed. Then there are the victims of human greed throughout the world, the starving and the poor.
In imitation of the Lord, we Christians have been empowered to do what is in our capacity to come to the aid of these lost people. We need to pay more attention to the suffering and loneliness in our midst.
Sometimes you and I may be "the Lost One" needed to be found by the Good Shepherd. Feel yourself in the place of the Lost, neglected, forgotten, unloved, homeless, and abandoned; you will come to know how to treat the Lost one.
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