"What is your thought on this...will he not leave the ninety-nine...and go in search of the stray?" —Matthew 18:12
In the Western business world, certain losses are expected. Damaged goods, breakage, stains, defects, bruising or spoilage, theft, or misplacement in transit are simply written off.
In God's business, no loss is acceptable! "It is the will of Him Who sent Me that I should lose nothing of what He has given Me" (Jn 6:39; see also 17:12; 18:9).
Jesus, the Good Shepherd:
- removes stains. He gave Himself up to present a holy and glorious Church "without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort" (Eph 5:25, 27),
- heals the broken (Ps 147:3; Is 61:1),
- protects the bruised (Is 42:3),
- restores the damaged (Is 61:3),
- seeks out the lost (Ez 34:12, 16), and
- recovers what was stolen (see Jl 2:24-26; Is 49:25).
What is your assessment of the one missing sheep? How would you determine its worth? Like Jesus, would you hunt for a broken, dirty, and defective one to offer comfort and tenderness? (see Is 40:1-2) Is there anyone that you have "written off" as a loss? Perhaps this might be someone whose stain of sin is too repulsive, who has gone too far, who seems too broken to fix?
Jesus said, " 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me?' 'Yes Lord,' Peter said, 'You know that I love You.' Jesus replied, 'Tend My sheep' " (see Jn 21:16). Do you love Jesus?
Prayer: "Change my heart, O God, may I be like You."
Promise: "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." —Is 40:11
Praise: St. Ambrose, a bishop of the early Church, guarded the flock by defending the laws and true teachings of the Church and by serving the poor.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004