Our “golden thread” today is that of shepherds and sheep. In the first reading from Isaiah 40, the prophet says, “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.” Then in the Gospel reading from Matthew 18, Jesus speaks of the Father as a shepherd who would leave ninety-nine sheep behind to go off and search for the one missing sheep.
Also in today’s first reading, we see the prophesy that pertains to John the Baptist: A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! And, the Lord speaks to Isaiah. “A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ I answer, ‘What shall I cry out?’ ” And the Lord tells the prophet what to say. This answer from Isaiah is one that I think bears reflecting on in our lives today.
I believe that the Lord says the same thing to you and me. “Cry out!” Now, you might think that Isaiah’s answer is the only plausible one. But you would be wrong. I dare say that the answer most people give is “NO!” Another option would be for us to begin crying out whatever we want. Spouting our own agenda or blowing our own horn. But Isaiah’s answer is certainly the proper one. We should always be asking the Lord, “What do you want me to say or do, Lord?”
Father, we hear you calling us to cry out. Give us the courage and strength to cry out whatever it is you want us to. Amen.