Twenty-fourth Sunday of Year “C”
Recovering the Lost
This Sunday’s Gospel reading is an assurance of God’s desire to regain what has been lost.
Our Lord is a God of reconciliation and renewal. He pursues those who have strayed from the truth. Why? Because he cares — he cares more than we do about the people we know who are “lost sheep” or “lost treasures” like the coin in this parable.
Think of the people who have been lost to you because they have abandoned you. God cares and is pursuing them, to bring healing to the relationship. He will continue his efforts even until they take their last earthly breath (sometimes the healing comes after death).
Think, too, of people who are neglecting their faith.
Jesus is a Good Shepherd who will never give up pursuing them. Why? Because their value to your family and the Church is important! Their absence is depleting the strength of the community. And God, who is the source of the life of the community, is doing everything possible — even the impossible — to lead them to repentance and healing and a safe return.
However, we cannot leave it all up to God; He works through us.
Only when we’ve tried and our influence is nil does God say, “Let go. Trust that I am continually working on the problem.” We can believe that Jesus is still chasing after them, even though they hide from him. He is not far from them, even though they push him away.
If there is something else we could do to invite them back into the sheepfold, but we don’t bother, someday we will have to explain ourselves to Jesus. Why did we fail to love as much as he loves them? Why did we let them stray without researching how we could help them? Have we done anything to push them away?
No matter how difficult it gets as we partner Christ to bring others back to the sheepfold, the most important thing we can do is keep loving them unconditionally.
Hopefully, they will see in us the love that Jesus is offering to them.
Deacon; St. Benet’s Minster