Daily Mass Reflections - 12/11
“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care” ~ Isaiah 40:11
Biblical scholars generally agree that Chapter 40 of the Book of Isaiah brings with it a new emphasis. Whereas Chapters 1-39 warn of the just judgment that God will inevitably bring upon those who place their trust in the secular rulers of their time, Chapters 40-55 lift up the promise of redemption for a people who are experiencing the judgment about which the prophet warned in the earlier chapters.
So as today’s 1st Reading (Isaiah 40:1-11) ushers in this uplifting message of hope culminating in the joy of our coming Savior, our Gospel Message (Matthew 18:12-14) mirrors the overarching theme in the waning words of today’s 1st Reading (Isaiah 40:11) that of Jesus serving as loving Shepherd to his lost, helpless sheep.
“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?”
Jesus asks his disciples, perhaps in rhetorical fashion. “And if he finds it, Amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost."
Perhaps you know someone who is like the lost sheep in today’s Gospel. Maybe they’re spiritually conflicted or compromised, confused, overwhelmed, or simply unable to get their spiritual life untracked due to distractions, needless worry or useless anxiety. Advent is a great time of year to share your joy with them, the eternal joy that one emanates upon surrendering one’s life fully to God and the truth of his just teachings.
Subtlety works; God will ultimately do the heavy lifting necessary to find them. And when he finds them, he will carry them back to the divine flock, freeing them of their spiritual pyrolysis and allowing them to be their true selves, vibrant members of the “Mystical Body and Blood of Jesus Christ” as Saint Paul likes to call Christ’s obedient servants https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Mystici-Corporis-Christi-Revisited. It was Saint Pope John XXIII who said “Christ's flock is made up of sheep that not only listen to their shepherd, but are also able to recognize his voice, to follow him, faithfully and with full awareness, on the pastures of eternal life.” As God’s people, the sheep of his flock, we must constantly seek and pray for the wisdom and discernment to hear His voice and to bring others to Him, the God who redeems and transforms. The God who saves.
“Lord, we pray for the one who is lost and can’t find their way. You have said that the Son Of Man has come to save those who
are lost. We know, Lord that it is not your will that any one should go astray. Thank you Lord for taking care of your lost sheep. When given the opportunity, grant us the grace to assist you in bringing back those who are lost” ~ Amen