Thursday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
November 5, 2020
Readings: Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 3:3-8a; Psalm 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7;
In today’s world, it is easy to feel alone and isolated. We live in a world with a much larger population than our parents and grandparents. Technology has brought improvements to our lives, but it has also made many of our interactions with each other much more impersonal. It is amazing to me how much time we spend waiting. We wait in line in stores, we wait to leave a message on someone's cell phone answering system, and we wait impatiently for all of the TV commercials to end in order to watch a movie. Have you ever tried to leave a message at a doctor’s office?
Oy vey! At times we feel as if we are just a number, and our concerns are not taken personally. Unfortunately, at times we feel very alone and very far from God. We are so busy, so distracted that it is difficult to find time to talk with God. We have no time to pray.
If any or all of this is how you feel, then today’s Gospel narrative is meant for you. You are that lost sheep, and God, the Good Shepherd, is looking for you. Being born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I know very little about sheep. I know they are cute and cuddly, and I’ve been told they are not very bright. Apparently when one sheep gets lost, it has a difficult time finding its way back to the flock. The shepherd has to be very vigilant to guard against losing his sheep. Today, Jesus told us that even when one sheep is lost, the shepherd will search until he finds it and returns it to the fold. When we feel alone and far from God, we are like that one lost sheep. But God is like the shepherd; and therefore, He is always searching for us—the lost sheep.
In today’s world (unless you live in a place like New Zealand), we would find it difficult identifying ourselves as lost sheep. However, the point of Jesus’ teaching is that God is, and always will be, looking for us when we are lost. When we feel far from God, we need to hear this message and know that we are not lost. Rather than giving up hope of ever being found, we need to continue to trust in God and beg Him to find and help us. The more alone we feel and the farther from God we feel, the more it is difficult to trust in God.
Our Heavenly Father will never give up His search for those who become lost. He will find us! Saint Luke tells us that when Jesus finds us He will proclaim, “I have found my lost sheep and there will be great rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” That one sinner could be you, or me, or anyone. Think about it. Better yet, pray about it. God is listening.
Question of the Day: Will you pray for the lost sheep of the world and rejoice in the saving grace of God?
Prayer: “When the lost sheep is found, the whole community of heaven rejoices."