In our second reading today we hear St. Paul writing these words to Timothy: “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.” I like these words and feel they apply to my appointment here as your pastor. I am grateful to God who has strengthened me and grateful He has appointed me to this ministry with all of you. I hope and pray I reflect the values and concern of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Today’s gospel story about the lost sheep is quite interesting. To leave ninety-nine sheep in the desert, unattended, is asking for trouble. The Good Shepherd is certainly not “good” from a worldly perspective; otherwise, simple arithmetic would convince him not to abandon the ninety-nine in order to save one. The ninety-nine are cooperative, obedient and sensible. They are well trained and stay where they belong.
The Lost Sheep, on the other hand, doesn’t do what it’s supposed to and now faces the dangers of the desert alone. Completely lacking the discipline of the ninety-nine, this one risks its life by wandering away from the protection of the shepherd and the flock. In seeking out this wayward creature, this one lost sheep, Jesus affirms the value of a single life – even of a “lost” or “fallen” life.
Sometimes you are the one lost sheep. Let this parable be a reminder never to give up hope. Jesus is constantly trying to find you, and I pray you allow Him to do so. Peace and blessings to you all.
P.S. Next weekend we have our Ministry Fair. It is vital that every baptized person consider ways to connect and grow in faith. This Ministry Fair will offer a variety of ways to connect and grow – a variety of ways to serve – and I hope you entrust yourself to God’s grace and allow Him to move you to serve. We need you.