Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Lost Have Been Found

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, “Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?  … you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’”  So the LORD relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people. 
(Ezekiel 32:11, 13-14)

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these, I am the foremost. But for that reason, I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. (1 Timothy 1:14-15)

‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way 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)

We pray, O God,
Brother Robert, Lenz, OFM
for all Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Jews  
whose hearts are consumed
by a zeal that has hardened them;
All whose vision is partial,
whose mind is narrowed,
whose perceptions are simplified,
whose soul is poisoned.
And yet, O God, we read of Jesus that
"zeal for your house consumed him".
His life teaches us that
without the zeal of a burning love for you
that will endure through
the night-time of our enmities
we shall not see your kingdom come.
So we ask, O God, that you give us
a zeal that insists on acceptance
a commitment that endures in non-violence
and a patience that works for your coming;
and teach us to hate
only our tribalism and prejudice
which separate us
from those different to us.
We ask it in the name of the Prince of Peace,
Jesus Christ Our Lord,

God’s mercy is so great it is truly hard to comprehend.  Moses pleads successfully with God not to devastate an idolatrous, stiff-necked and depraved people.  Paul witnessed to the sin within his own heart which was purified and made into holy fodder for his teaching about Christ by the sacrifice of the cross.  And Jesus shares stories of those lost and found – sinners, prodigals, persecutors, one who misplaces her treasure – all pursued by a merciful God who runs to greet us.  God is ready to give comfort, new life and forgiveness to those of us who squander our fortune as well as to those of us who are ignorant in unbelief. Lost is lost, God does not keep a metric of who is most deserving of mercy.  To offer mercy allows us a glimpse into the mystery of a creating, ever renewing eternal love.

In Jesus’ life, sacrifice and resurrection we have already been found.  And so have all others who seek and accept.  Pray for your own continual sojourn within his flock.  Pray for those outside.  We need not fear or treat them with disgust for they are lost.  Pray that they might be found.  Perhaps the Shepherd is already hoisting them on His shoulders.  What might you do to open the sheepfold gate for someone today?

Icon of the Bedouin Good Shepherd available at:

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