READINGS for 2008-12-09
“He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.” – Matthew 18:14 (The Message)
Once, I was given a chance to serve in the Kids for Christ Conference in Bataan. I was tasked to be the head of our area’s delegation together with my YFC friend. Since there were a lot of parents there, what we had to do was just make sure the kids were complete whenever the adults weren’t around.
As much as I know I am not good with kids, I liked being there. Mostly because I wanted to see the kids in praise and worship. Unlike in YFC, where our voices harmonize together almost flawlessly, the kids were different. The kids danced, sang in their cute little voices and just had fun while singing. I don’t know if the kids knew they were actually praying. I bet most of them think of the songs as just something fun to sing, like what they do in school.
But I think God smiles at these kids when they sing, in the same way that I smile as I watch them. Because their simple faith brings Him as much glory as the best missionaries do. And in realizing this, I know that I was blessed to be able to see that. Tina Matanguihan
Try talking to a child about God and listen to what he says. You might learn a valuable thing or two about faith.
May I be like a little child whose simple faith in You is enough to make You smile.
Sometimes, the second part of the prophecies of Isaiah, chapters 40-55 are referred to as the Book of Consolation. This is because the prophecies we discover here are very consoling in nature, promising Israel that God will rescue them from their predicament and make them great in the eyes of the nations once more. As Christians, we read these prophecies in relation to Christ and draw strength from them for similar reasons.
1 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. 2 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. 3 A voice cries out in the desert: Prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! 4 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. 5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. 6 A voice says, “Cry out!” I answer, “What shall I cry out?” “All mankind is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. So then, the people is the grass. 8 Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.” 9 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! 10 Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. 11 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.
P S A L M
Psalm 96:1-2, 3 and 10ac, 11-12, 13
R: The Lord our God comes with power.
1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. 2 Sing to the LORD; bless his name; announce his salvation, day after day. (R) 3 Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds. 10 Say among the nations: the LORD is king. He governs the peoples with equity. (R) 11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; 12 let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice. (R) 13 They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy. (R)
G O S P E L
The heart of the Father for us His children is that none of us would be lost to sin. However, each of us has freewill and this gift makes no sense unless we are able to reject this offer of salvation. This is how much God loves us! He has even given us the opportunity to reject His love and go our own way if we want to. It would not be a very wise decision to do this, but it is a possibility, which is why we all must work out the gift of our salvation with fear and trembling.
 11 12 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? 13 And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 14 In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
think:The heart of the Father for us His children is that none of us would
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Daniel 5-7
WHY DID THE SHEEP GET LOST?
The loss of some goats in 1947 led to the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls which shed light on Judaism and early Christianity. Sheep and goats often got lost on the steep slopes of the Judean wilderness. Their shepherds had to track them down for miles.
St. Luke presents the short parable in a context that sees the sheep at fault because it wandered away (sinned). But Matthew puts this parable immediately after Jesus spoke about the “little ones” and after warning not to cause them scandal. Matthew’s point is pastoral care. Jesus has in mind a disciple who has wandered away from the fold of the Church. Such persons are worth so much that the shepherd would leave the 99 still in the Church in order to go and rescue the one who had wandered away.
We need to reach out and bring sinners back as the parable teaches in Luke’s gospel. In Matthew’s version of the parable, the fault may lie with the Church rather than the lost sheep. Of course, a person makes his/her own choices about remaining faithful or leaving the church and Matthew does not deny individual responsibility. But the placement of this parable suggests that Matthew envisions a church that is also to blame for those who wander away and are never pursued. A church that is content to keep the majority of their members has not become genuine children of the heavenly Father who desires that none should perish. The least influential, indeed, the most problematic, member is worth all the efforts to restore that one.
We should not forget that each and every one of us is Church. My bossy and proud attitude, my behavior in daily life, my hurtful words could have alienated a faithful. Matthew’s parable is suddenly not just a story about a good shepherd but a story about me who might have caused a sheep to wander away. If I realize this, what do I do? Fr. Rudy Horst
Do I detect in my words, in my attitude something that might alienate others from the Church community? Am I concerned when somebody leaves the community? Do I feel responsible and attempt to win this person back?
Lord, without intention, I might have driven away one or the other of Your sheep. I did not realize that I should have gone after the person. Lord, I learn from You, the Good Shepherd, and try to be more careful and loving towards Your precious “sheep.”
St. Juan Diego, layman, pray for us.
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