A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 9:35-10:1,5a,6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give."
“Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
Have you ever known someone who lost a child in a store? Once, my very friendly three-year-old daughter walked away from me as I turned the corner in a department store. When I realized she was gone, my immediate reaction was to head for the front door and contact the manager. It did not take them long to find her in the toy department. Children are very trusting in nature and can easily get lost, just like sheep.
However, do you consider yourself a lost sheep? I have often thought that lost sheep are only the people who reject Jesus. Let us look closer at our own faith and ask ourselves if we are picking and choosing what we like and don’t like about our Catholic faith. When we accept the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic church, we become like sheep accepting the lead of our shepherd. If we close ourselves off from some of the teachings, we can get lost right inside the church like my daughter was lost right inside the store.
Our holy shepherds lead us to truth, healing our brokenness and spreading the Kingdom of heaven. This advent let us stop and remain still to contemplate Jesus’ healing power. Think of the loving compassion Jesus showed while he walked on earth performing miracles. He reveals his true nature as only he can make us whole. He continues his work through his shepherds, who have the authority to heal their flocks through the sacraments and prayer. Let us “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest," praying for them to have perseverance and remain on fire for God, so that we will recognize the Kingdom of heaven.