Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time, November 5
For Anyone Who Has At One Time or Another or Is Currently Embracing a Life of Darkness, Our Lord Never Closes the Door on His Children, for Our God Is a God Who Constantly Seeks Out Those Who Are Lost.
“Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.” – words which we find in today’s Responsorial Psalm, words which should express our longing to always be near our Lord and serve Him faithfully.
Intimacy in our relationship with God is truly that eternal desire for which the faithful of God yearn, that ultimate of all goals for which God calls each of us to strive in our daily life! And yet, we know only too well that in the life experiences we realize in this journey upon which we are now traveling, we can oftentimes fall short of perfection in our struggle for personal holiness, especially when we are surrounded by so much darkness which we find in the culture in which we live.
Even in Jesus’ day, there was darkness in certain aspects of the culture in which He lived, whether it be the oppressive occupation by the Roman army, or the darkness within the hearts of the Pharisees and the scribes about whom we read in today’s Gospel.
And in addressing that darkness and the hardness of their hearts with regards to the tax collectors and sinners with whom our Lord was associating, Jesus responds to them, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep…I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
It was some time ago when my wife and I stood with a small group of people outside an abortion clinic in a nearby city praying the Rosary. We could see the faces of so many young women who were going inside, presumably, to have the lives of their babies terminated.
On many of these faces, there were expressions of confusion or bewilderment when they saw the group of us praying for an end to the atrocities of abortion. It was like these women were wandering from car to clinic, like lost sheep. In the midst of their own personal feelings of uncertainty and apprehension, they were unable to clear their minds in order to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling out to them.
And it is this voice, the voice of Jesus Christ which leads us, supports us, and raises us up! It is His voice which calls out to us and invites you and me to be one with Him, so that we may share our eternity with Him and our loved ones, giving honor and glory to our Heavenly Father who loves each and every one of us beyond our ability to humanly describe or understand such Love.
How consoling to realize that our God is a God who cares for us personally as individuals. And even more consoling is the realization that our Shepherd does not abandon or reject us when we go astray; but, instead, goes out of His way to bring us back into His fold, as Jesus explains in today’s Gospel –
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?”
Having worked in the past with many of the homeless in a nearby city, I have seen in the faces of many of these men and woman a special kind of suffering. They feel that, in many respects, society has abandoned them. And many also feel a certain spiritual and emotional emptiness, believing that they are lost – like sheep who have wandered too far away from the safety of their Shepherd.
In their desolation, there are even some who feel that they can no longer hear His voice calling out to them. In their personal anguish, they feel as though they are all alone – even to the point of losing hope and feeling dead inside.
And yet, it is in the Gospels, and in the Letters of Peter, Paul, John, James and others, wherein we are forever reminded that God is always near us, that He is always a part of us – reaching out and inviting us, so that we may all be one in Him.
For each and every one of us is a sinner, in need of God’s Merciful Love and forgiveness. And in faith, humility and with a truly contrite heart, we reach out to Him with the words, “Jesus, I trust in You” – knowing and believing that God will never turn His back on anyone who seeks reconciliation and His Divine Mercy.
And especially for all those who are struggling in life, burdened with the weight of their own crosses and dealing daily with their own personal demons, life can seem extremely unbearable and unfair at times.
For each woman who seeks an abortion, for each person who finds him or herself homeless and living on the streets and has given up all sense of hope, for anyone who has at one time or another or is currently embracing a life of darkness – our Lord never closes the door on His children, for our God is a God who constantly seeks out those who are lost!
And He is truly closest to all those who unknowingly need His help the most, for it is impossible for any of us to truly grasp the infinite nature and the depth of God’s Love which He has for each of His children.
And over the centuries, there have been special moments in the lives of many of His children who were given the grace of experiencing the incredible peace and joy that accompanies God’s unconditional Love.
May this Eternal Love dispel the darkness and the emptiness which lies in the hearts of those who suffer emotionally and spiritually. As our Lord tells us, “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people…”
And may the Eternal Light of God’s Loving Presence fill each of His children – you, me and all our brothers and sisters – with an enduring hope and a lasting peace which only God can provide. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Glory in his holy name; let hearts that seek the LORD rejoice! Seek out the LORD and his might; constantly seek his face.” (Psalm 105:3-4)
- “…I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8a)
- “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:4-6)
- “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
- “In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
- “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:14-16)
- “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)
- “For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)
- “For the LORD will not forsake his people, nor abandon his inheritance.” (Psalm 94:14)
Prayer for the Day
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;Psalm 23 (Psalm of the Good Shepherd)
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”