The Wayward Sheep

Matthew 18:12-14
Isa 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.
(Matthew 18:14)

Bless me Lord in all that I do,
In Your Word be faithful and true;
Make my heart pure and undefiled,
That I may always be Your child.

(Jesus said to 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, amen, I say to you, 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.” (Matthew 18:12-14)

Reflection

The parable of the wayward sheep that was lost in the wilderness seems to be warning us that too much freedom is never a good thing. Perhaps it would have been to our best benefit if we did not have free will. But we chose to be free – to do what we wanted in the name of freedom – and what loving father could not give what his beloved children wanted? When God created us, He intended for us all to be saved and enjoy His kingdom. However, He will never interfere with our free will, because the freedom of choice is what makes love genuine, and how we choose to make of our life determines or qualifies us to be His inheritors. Free will is what makes each one of us God’s unique and individual child of creation. How we employ it according to His will, however, is what makes us lovable to Him.

Because of disobedience we fell into the real slavery of sin in this world. But even in our corrupted state, God did not give up on us, and even went to all the trouble of becoming one of us just to be able to show us the way – even giving up His earthly life for us in a most painful way to expiate for our sins, and to drive the point home. What more proof do we need that God really wants us to be saved and enjoy His eternal heavenly banquet? And we don’t even have to die on the cross – just from our sins!

In giving this parable, our Lord also emphasizes the value of every member of His flock, even the wayward ones. As His leaders in our community, He wants us to follow His example of bringing any errant member back to the fold, without judging him for his mistakes, as we are all prone to commit them. In fact it is in this community that we have found our calling as followers of Christ – to win others to His flock, and to bring His message of true Christian living to others.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) some of us brothers in the community will be going to Mati, Davao Oriental, to bring rice, foodstuffs, fresh water in plastic gallons and blankets for the surviving victims of the recent super typhoon “Pablo”. Our material assistance will certainly help in preventing these poor people from losing their hope in a loving Father Who has not forgotten them. One who loses hope is definitely a “lost sheep”. By showing we care for those who have lost hope, we are bringing them back to the sheepfold of the Lord.

Thank You, Father God, that You have found us, and have made us Your instruments in bringing others back to You. May we always be faithful in following the example set by Your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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