2nd Week of Advent
1st Reading: Is 40:1-11
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. A voice says, “Cry out!” I answer, “What shall I cry out?” “All flesh is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. So then, the people is the grass. Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.” Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.
Gospel: Mt 18:12-14
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.”
ALL ARE PRECIOUS: A sheep lost in the wilderness becomes most vulnerable to all sorts of dangers. It is in danger of being victim of wild animals, thieves, and extreme weather and is likely to die. Similarly, all those people who have accepted Jesus, are welcomed and are kept safe from all dangers. If one of them gets lost by falling into sin, Jesus goes out of his way to search for the lost one and bring him/her home. Christ never wants to see anybody left outside his protection and care. This is a clear sign that all human beings are precious in the eyes of Christ. For Christ to bring a person to his homestead, that person must be ready to allow Christ to bring him/her home. God does not turn away any person who returns to him in repentance. All human beings are precious in God’s sight.
Prayer: Lord, may I always be ready to hear your voice and follow you.
RECTIFYING THE ESTRANGED RELATIONSHIP: The teachings from the parable of the lost sheep are beneficial for our family and social life. Parents have the responsibility to see that children are not strayed in the electronic and social media, disordered sex and consumerism. Children require daily accompaniment. Similarly, those in moral authority have the responsibility to guide the people who are entrusted to their care. The parable can be compared to the ninety-nine friends and one detractor. The pain experienced from an opponent, outweighs the joy coming from ninety-nine friends. Jesus assures that ninety-nine good people will not leave us. It is important for our happiness to go in looking for one person who is not in good relationship with God. When reconciliation is accomplished there will be great joy and fulfillment.
PRAYER: Lord, give me the grace to rectify my relationship today.
GOD WITH A BIG HEART: Isaiah weaves the image of God, a comforting Shepherd (Is.40: 11). He conjures up a dawn, where there is no more fear and uncertainty. God of might, God most capable yet with the sensitivity and care typical of a shepherd is at His Act. He feeds; he fondles the little ones and gently leads ahead. The ideal shepherd leaves aside the ninety-nine and goes after the single. Today’s world presents a different picture. Coldness towards God, indifference to the church and religious values and being buried neck deep in the glitter and glamour of a senseless society. So it is no more the single lost. But the majority found on the slippery slope of degradation. You are invited to play the shepherd. Let us take up the challenge and turn over a new leaf.