Today’s Gospel narrates the parable of the Lost Sheep, emphasizing the importance of the care for “the little ones” (Greek hoi mikroi).
In Matthew 18, the expression “the little ones” may refer to the disciples or, at least, may be profoundly related to Jesus’ disciples. These are challenged to be like little children in terms of dependence on God. Intricately connected to this disposition of dependency on God is the trust that God will always take care of his children. And if God himself takes care of those who follow Jesus, Jesus’ disciples themselves must also take care of one another. The disciples must not be a stumbling block against one another. Moreover, they should search those who have gone astray, for such is the will of the heavenly Father.
During this Advent season, how can we grow more in terms of our dependency on God? Do we truly care about our fellow believers? How shall we reach out and give encouragement to our fellow believers who are experiencing difficulties in life at this time?
FIRST 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, 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 • Matthew 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.”
Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2022,” St. Pauls, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.