Right this moment, our Shepherd is searching for His lost ones
Reflections on the readings for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary time (September 15, 2019): EX 32:7-11,13-14; PS 51:3-4,12-13,17,19; 1 TM 1:12-17; LK 15:1-32
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
Several times in the Gospels, Jesus uses the image of a shepherd and his sheep.
Today we hear the Parable of the Lost Sheep. He tells us about a shepherd with a flock of a hundred sheep who goes out to search for one that is lost. And when he finds it, he is so happy “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 15:6-7). In human terms, it is highly unlikely that a shepherd would do any such thing. But Christ wants those listening to him, both those who know they are sinners and those who think of themselves as righteous, need to understand that God’s viewpoint is quite different from ours. Almighty God created each of us and loves us all as unique individuals. Throughout our lives, He will never give up on us even if we tend to give up on ourselves. As long as we have breath in our bodies, our loving Lord is ready to offer us mercy.
Jesus wanted those who gathered around Him – and us today – to realize that all who follow Him should rejoice when anyone reconciles with Him and strives to make amends. We also need to give good example and encouragement, knowing so well our own faults and our need for God’s compassion.
Suggested missionary action: We can offer God our gratitude for His mercy and forgiveness and resolve to go to confession regularly. We can also reassure and pray for those who are trying to change their lives for the better and grow closer to Him.