Friday, October 5, 2012

And If The Ninety-Nine Are Lost?

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over the one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  (Lk 15:1-7)
Do you get the feeling lately that the world is changing, that there is a darkness coming?  I wonder what people thought in the years leading to WWII.  Was there talk of hope and change then?  Were there leaders shouting into the growing darkness: “I know the way?”  Did people think them shepherds?  In the Gospel of John we are told that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.  Do you get the feeling that our national shepherds expect us to lay down our lives for them?
There is only one Good Shepherd.  There is only one, Jesus Christ, who did lay down His life for His sheep.  Only one Who, when we were lost, said: “I am the Way.”  I feel like we are the ninety-nine sheep in Luke’s gospel, who were left in the wilderness while the shepherd went in search of a lost one.  Nothing further was said about those ninety-nine.  He trusted them to stay and wait until he returned, but what if they too strayed?  Have we, in confidence, took our eyes off The Shepherd and said: “I know the way?”  Have we, forgetting the shepherd’s voice, followed another?  Are we wandering among wolves, unaware of coming disasters and darkness?  Are we starting to feel scared?
The tree in front of mom’s house has turned bright red, and its leaves are starting to fall.  The days are getting shorter.  I put off turning on the heat in my house until October 1; I’m wearing a light jacket in the morning; I am making believe that winter isn’t coming.  I haven’t checked where the rakes are in the garage; I haven’t tested the snow blower to see if it will start; my winter coat is in the closet --- somewhere.  I’m pretending that if I ignore it winter will be delayed, but winter will not be put off.  It is coming.  Dark days, inevitable as the winter, seem ahead for our country.  I don’t look forward to them.

They won’t be wished away; they won’t be put off forever.  We can’t expect others to take care of us in the coming night --- and we are far from the Shepherd.  We can’t pretend our country, even our world, is well. 
I want to find my Shepherd, one I can trust.  No matter how much I think I know the way, I want to follow Him.  I don’t care what religion you are or are not, whether you believe in a god, G_d, or just some great unknown, can’t you feel the darkness coming?  Aren’t you willing to accept that there must be a better path than the one our country is on now?  St. Augustine was one of the wisest men on earth, until he put his wisdom aside and spoke to God.  And he found a love and peace he had not known possible.  Late have I love Thee, O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new.  Late have I loved Thee.
It is never too late to find Peace even in the darkest times, but how do you find the way to Him?  Is he this man running for office, or that one?  Will he lead us to happier times?  Will he show us the way, or are we just wishing for the winter not to come?  We need to do more than wishing.
I prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary again last night, and read my meditations for the first mystery – the Annunciation of the Angel to Mary, but I read them in a new light:

  • This is what I’d have you do: listen for My Will; resolve to do it.  No matter how hard.
  • Can God really be calling to me?
  • Full of grace – Me??  Lord, I am not worthy.
  • How can I do this.  This will cause me shame, embarrassment, deep sacrifice or pain,
    public humiliation.  Do You want this?
  • Do not be afraid.
  • No one who sees me will understand.  They’ll talk; they’ll laugh.
  • Who am I to question.  Any sacrifice You ask will be more than repaid.
  • Thy will be done.
  • In this I find joy.
  • I trust in You.
Things ahead for this country may be hard, I’m not sure I can be strong enough; pain may be required; I may be afraid.  Some won’t understand my seeking the Shepherd’s help; they may laugh.  But He’s calling me.  He may ask sacrifices of me, but He will repay me.  He promised.  The question is:  “Can I trust that promise?”  That last meditation point is a key one.
Perhaps a better question is:  “Can I afford not to trust His promise?”  Look around and be honest.  Don’t you feel a darkness coming?  Even if you don’t know; even if you don’t believe; do you see any better alternatives?  You may think: “Disaster is upon us.  What can any man do?”  Ah, but part of the truth we need trust is that He is not just a man.  He is God.
This is the Year of Faith.  Now, more than ever, we need faith.  So what must we do?  Well, in the last Joyful Mystery meditations, I read this tonight: 

  • When He seems far away, I am the one lost.  I must seek Him.
  •  He always waits in His Church.  Waits for me.
  • No matter how long I’ve been gone, He still loves me.
  • No matter how much in pain, He can still wipe away my tears.
  • He waits to hug me.  He waits to love me.
  • I can always go home.  I can always see Him again
  • If I am to do His will, I must seek Him, all my life.
  • He wants my life for Him; I want His Life for me.
  • My Jesus I Trust In You!
  • In this I find great Joy.
If we feel lost and scared, we must seek Him.  He waits; He loves.  Can we learn to trust Him, and not ourselves (or our politicians)?  Is there Joy, even a joy in heaven, to replace our darkness?  If we seek Him, can we be found?  Remember one more thing that He said:  “I am the Light.”  In this election year, I am looking for a light.  I see none in Washington.  Are we looking in the wrong place?
I know that I need to grow in Faith this year.  I need to.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom
    This is another thought provoking post. You always give your readers plenty of meat to chew on.

    I have nominated you for the Lumen Christi Award. Instructions are on my blog post here: