“Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14”
©2013 James Dacey, Jr. OFS
(Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14 / Who is the Greatest?...)
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
Reflection: My Friends,
I can’t always explain the Joy, but I always try. Today in the end of the gospel there is a parable, only four verses but it is awesome and it is there! I really love them; I enjoy reading them, reflecting upon them and sharing them. I think many of you already know that. Today’s gospel actually covers three topics: Who is the greatest? Temptation to sin; and The Parable of the Lost Sheep. The first part of the gospel was a bit surprising when I first heard this many years ago. Jesus taught love, unselfishness, giving of oneself to another; however did this question of “who is greatest?” come up? Interesting thought, I guess inside many of us, we want to be the center of attention; the first, the best, the most, just to be recognized for it. God only knows what that’s all about. But today let us look upon the second half of today’s gospel, verses 10-14; that is all about the Parable that almost sums up our mission as followers of Jesus.
Jesus clearly tells us that God absolutely does not want any of us to be lost and led astray; look at verse 14, “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” It is our mission as believers, the faithful; to seek out the lost and bring them home. This is not going to be easy, and it may take some time and some pain to see some of them through, but with God’s love and our faith and trust in Him, we will be given the strength necessary to do this. Scripture confirms that even in Heaven many rejoice, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7. Many of us know those who need Jesus in their lives, we know the lost and those who wonder. Let us try to direct them with love and compassion to return to the flock; for at their return there is only love and compassion and forgiveness. No one will be turned away; our only desire is that they return to the arms of Jesus.
Pondering these thoughts today: How can we really draw others to Jesus? How can we lead back, the misled and misinformed? In our prayers we can ask God through the Holy Spirit to guide us, and to give us strength. For starters I believe the best approach on someone who refuses to hear anything about Jesus or our Blessed Mother, is to continue to pray for them. And keep praying for them, every single day, pray for them. Prayer is a gift you can give away, over and over again. And the greatest part about praying for someone else is that they can’t stop you, and in fact most of the time they don’t even need to know. Just try to be “Jesus” in their lives. Meaning, give them love, compassion, forgiveness, and have concern for their challenges; and always have open arms and always be understanding with them, show them, without saying a word, how Jesus has changed who you were -to who you are. Let us, in our travels, become seekers of the lost, seeking and leading others home. Planting seeds of Joy, Hope, and Love are a great way to start. The more of us that do this for the lost, will result in the less that will be lost and more will be returning home. Pray about this, ask God for His will to help you to seek out others to draw them back to Him. You will see opportunities open up, and people will be led to you. His will is the only way. God Bless all of you and all your efforts in seeking out the lost.
And His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS
Revised: (Originally written August 9, 2011)