Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent Reflection: Matthew 18:12-14

Second Week of Advent – Matthew 18:12-14

The Gospel reading for today is extremely short: only three verses. Yet Jesus has a powerful message in these verses. Today’s Gospel is the parable of the man who has 100 sheep that he is tending. One of the sheep wanders off.

Despite the fact that the shepherd was tending 100 sheep, he instinctively knew that one of his sheep was missing. He was determined to find it and bring it back to the flock. As we know, the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep and goes in search of the lost sheep.

We know that Jesus is the shepherd and we are the “sheep.” At times in our lives, we also wander off or stray from the Shepherd and from the flock. Do you remember a time in your life when you were lost? When you were distant from God? What was going on in your life at that time? Take a moment and reflect those days or months. Did you sense Jesus seeking you out, looking for you? What brought you back to Jesus? And what did you learn from that experience?

When we feel lost and alone, we may not feel Jesus’ presence as we would like to. Yet Jesus is with us! Jesus never leaves us! Typically, we are the one who wanders away from Him. Hopefully at some point we realize that we are lost and we decide to return home to the One who loves us unconditionally! If you notice, the shepherd did not reprimand the sheep, he looks for the lost sheep until he finds it. He then takes it back to the flock. The shepherd also rejoices more about finding his lost sheep.

At various times in our lives, we are the “lost sheep.” Do you remember one of those times in your life when you were lost? What was happening in your life at that time? What did you experience during those days, weeks or months? Did you sense Jesus calling you back to Him? How did you respond?

The gift is Jesus searches for us until He finds us and we allow Him to bring us home! Jesus never gives up looking for us or longing for our return! Are you “lost” in some way at this time in your life? Have you wandered away from Jesus? Today Jesus is searching for you and for me! It is our decision to allow ourselves “be found” by Him. Will we let Him carry us back to His flock?

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