Thursday, November 08, 2012

My Lost Sheep

My Lost Sheep

November 8, 2012
Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.  More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  Philippians 3:7-8a
"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


Something's lost and can't be found
Please, St. Anthony, look around.


Paul was the lost sheep, the lost coin. Or at least he was while making a name for himself among the belligerent Roman soldiers who he joined in persecuting the Jews.  Paul changed -- in a similar way that we see Peter, Nicodemus, the other disciples and those who had contact with Jesus grow and change.
The sheep who wanders from the flock does not know when it is lost until it looks up and sees nothing familiar.  The "old" Paul (Saul) knew what he was doing.  But because he did not enter into a friendship with the Lord or the Christians who followed Jesus, he did not know that he was lost until he tumbled from his horse.
Disoriented, Paul got help he did not even ask for from members of the nearby Christian community.  They came to his aid even though they were skeptical of their persecutor.   


Sometimes we have new experiences in situations where we have never been before.  In those cases, it might be very easy to get lost unless we have a shepherd looking out for us or a poor widow searching high and low for a missing coin.
Who is your shepherd these days?  At different times in our lives, that role changes. When we are young, we can rely upon parents and siblings for aid.  What new experiences are you facing and who is your shepherd now?
It can be hard to look around and see people who react with such certainty to their situations.  When we look around, we will eventually find others who are confused by the situation.
This week in group, one of our members share the words spoken by Pope Benedict during an audience on October 24.  The Holy Father said, "Faith offers us sure hope and direction amid the spiritual confusion of our times."
Before we experience such faith, we are like the old Paul -- a lost sheep.  After we accept the gift of faith, we accept the love that Christ and others will be our shepherd in this confusing world.  Having faith does not mean never getting lost again.  Having faith just means there is always someone helping us find our way and rejoicing when we get back on the right path.

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