August 12, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 18:1-14
Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. Then he says, “In the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (v.14). God wants all to be saved, to be restored to Himself. That is why God sent His own Son Jesus to die for us. Now Jesus sends us, just as the Father sent him.
God has made Himself dependent upon us for the salvation of others, that is, to proclaim the good news to them so that they might believe and be saved. God has provided us everything we need–fullness of grace from Jesus and empowerment from the Holy Spirit. This is why the harvest is supposed to be rich.
Unfortunately the workers are few. But there should be many, especially the laity who make up 99.9+% of the Church. We just need to see the great importance of our work of evangelization, and our crucial part in it.
The man who lost one sheep went out to search for it, leaving the 99 (v.12b). What does this say to us? The greater focus is on searching out for the lost rather than caring for those who are already in the sheepfold. This obviously is not to say that we should neglect those who are already in the Church. However, in the Church today, there is unfortunately a lot of “preaching to the choir” but not enough effort to bring in lapsed Catholics. There are the second steps (including catechism) but miss out on the first step of proclaiming the gospel (the kerygma). There is a feast of many wonderful programs and ministries in the parishes, but many do not partake of it.
Further, the problem is compounded by the reality that it is not one that is lost, but the 99! The one man, or the 1%, should go outside the confines of parishes and seek out those 99. “For the Son of Man has come to save what was lost” (v.11). That is why Jesus came; that is why we are sent.
God raised LCSC to do a massive work of evangelization through the parishes and in other environments. God looks to you to search out the lost.
“And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.” (v.13). We rejoice in our family life when it is in the Lord. We rejoice in our parish community as we walk with our brethren forward in Christ. But our greater joy should be when we are used by God to bring someone back to Him and back to the Church.
This is Jesus’ way. “What is your opinion?” (v.12a).
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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