Salvation Comes in God’s Time

Matthew 18: 12-14
Is 40:1-11 / Ps 96

It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.
(Mt.18:14)

In times when we may fall to sin,
Let not the light of hope grow dim;
God’s love will wipe our record clean,
His mercy calls us back to Him.

Before our Lord gave this parable of ‘The Lost Sheep’, He was asked by His disciples, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Placing a child in their midst, Jesus said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:4). He then asked them: “”What is your opinion? 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? And if he finds it, 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.” (Mt. 18:12-14)

Reflection

I have shared this personal experience before, about God’s awesome love for sinners, but for the benefit of our new subscribers, allow me to relate again my “road to Damascus” encounter which happened many years ago. While rushing home from work as the day was ending, I was passing by a hospital when a crowd milling at the gate caught my attention. I felt as if something was urging me to go back and check what the commotion was all about. Though I was in a hurry to get home, I turned the car around and went back to check. “What’s going on?” I asked in Visayan. A bystander who recognized me said, “Just a common thief, sir, caught by surprise, beaten and stabbed.” Sure enough, there on the ground lay a man, surrounded by impassive spectators, like a discarded rug, dirty and dying. “He’s still alive!” I cried. “Why not bring him inside the hospital?” Nobody knew him. Nobody cared. And the attending physician said they could no longer do anything to save him. “Has anybody called a priest?” I asked almost incredulously. Then, suddenly, it hit me: this was the answer to an old prayer.

A few months back we were rushing a stranger who was also a stabbing victim to the hospital, and the man had died without my even mentioning the name of Jesus to him. I had felt guilty for not having performed my duty as a Christian, and had prayed to God to give me another chance. This was the chance. Like a madman, I lunged for the dying man’s ear. “Can you hear me? Are you prepared to die?” I asked in Visayan. With his dying breath he responded, “No. . . what must I do?” I couldn’t believe clear fluent Visayan was coming out of my mouth. “Repent of your sins, ask forgiveness from Jesus Christ… believe that He is the Son of God, our Savior!” His lips moved in silent prayer. Kneeling on the rocky ground, I raised my hands in prayer, asking God to forgive this stranger of all his sins. After praying the Lord’s Prayer, the ‘Hail Mary’ and ‘Glory Be’, I looked down, and beheld the beatific expression on the face of the dead man. I have never since experienced such joy in my life, nor has my life ever been the same again.

Thank You, Lord God, for making me Your instrument to bring back a lost sheep.

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