In the first reading today from Romans 14, St. Paul writes, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” The rub on this passage is that we must make a conscious decision to live for the Lord, and to die for the Lord, and to belong fully to the Lord. Have you done that today?
In the Gospel reading from Luke 15, Jesus addresses two parables to some Pharisees and scribes who complain that He (Jesus) welcomes sinners and eats with them. In the first parable, Jesus tells of a man who leaves ninety-nine sheep behind in the desert to search for his one lost sheep. He then tells of a woman who searches like crazy for a lost coin. When each finds that which was lost, they rejoice. Jesus then says, “In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Spiritually speaking, have you ever lost your way? I can tell you that there was a time when I was so far gone that I never would have dreamed that I could have found my way back to God. But just like the characters in the parables, God never gave up on me. He searched high and low through the wilderness, always calling out to me. In time, I heard His voice and when I returned, the angels cheered. Really, it sometimes seems that God and I play this perpetual game of hide and seek. I keep hiding, and He keeps seeking. And whenever I come back to my senses, there is much rejoicing. Can you hear Him?
Father, thank you for never giving up on us as we wander through the desert. May we come back to you today and hear the angels cheering us on. Amen.