Is 40: 1-11/ Psa 96
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.
Be God’s instrument of conversion,
Bring a lost sheep back to His fold;
As Jesus showed in His mission,
In this task everyone is called.
(Jesus asked His disciples): “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)
One of the principles embodied in the mission of our renewal community is to “take responsible care for all entrusted to us.” As followers of Christ, we all must assume the vital role of seeking at least one “lost soul” (“lost” in the sense that he or she has not yet found the real purpose of his/her earthly existence), and helping that person be transformed by discovering a deeper relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As we meditate on the life of Jesus in the Gospel passages of the bible, we can see His passion in seeking the lost, bringing them to repentance, and making their lives fruitful in the work of His mission. Aside from the twelve apostles, He delegated His mission to 72 disciples whom He sent out in pairs to different villages and towns. The lives of Matthew the tax collector, and Zacchaeus, an even richer tax collector, Mary Magdalene, once possessed by demons, Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and even Saul, great persecutor of the early church, were transformed when they encountered Jesus in their lives. Many sinners have become saints when they experienced this divine appointment with their Savior.
Our Lord tells us in today’s Gospel that God is a loving Father Who seeks us out when we go astray, and rejoices when we repent of our sins and are converted again. “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk.15:7). Our God wants us to follow the example of His Son – to seek out our lost brothers and sisters too, as Jesus has shown us, and bring them back to His fold. If only to show our appreciation for His call and our own conversion, we can do no less.
Of course there is the danger that we too might get lost (fall into sin), as we venture into the company of sinners. Or at the very least, suffer ridicule for our efforts. But our Lord’s reassuring words give us boldness of spirit: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven” (Mt.5:11-12).
We are all like mindless sheep who lose their way sooner or later. But God’s grace and mercy bring us back to Himself. He is so wise, loving and forgiving that He will provide a way for our salvation, because He knows our weaknesses, predisposed as our human nature is to waywardness. There is no hopeless sinner, as long as we give ourselves a chance to hear the voice of the Shepherd calling us back to Him. Only the “black sheep” who runs away from God is lost forever.
Keep us in the right paths, dear God, for the road of life is full of treachery and deceit. And should we lose our way, let Your Word be the voice in the wilderness to guide us back to the way of our Lord Jesus, Who had sacrificed so much for our redemption. Amen.