Our Search and Rescue Mission

Posted by James Hahn on

Luke 15:1-10

Today's Gospel parable has always given me trouble. This parable about the lost sheep makes no sense to me, humanly speaking. Jesus asks this question to the Pharisees and scribes who were complaining about Him eating and hanging out with sinners - "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?"

I want to scream out the answer, as if from the back row of the crowd of people. "Not me, not anyone here.  That's crazy!!  That makes no sense to leave the rest of your sheep defenseless out in the desert while searching for one that had not the sense to stick with the group. It makes no sense to chase after that one sheep while risking the loss of more to wild animals in the desert! Furthermore, having a party, if in fact you do find that one silly lamb, seems a bit much."

This answer, I realize, is the answer of a fallen man who places value more upon things than upon people. This is an answer that shows the difference between man's way of thinking and God's way of thinking. Man sees the risk involved, calculates the potential gain and / or loss, and decides to take a small loss rather than risking a larger one. God sees each lamb equally and loves each equally. It would be unthinkable for Him to leave even one behind.  My paradigm would change if I simply replaced the word "sheep" in the Gospel with the word "children".

"What man among you having a hundred [children] and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?"

When I look at the situation in this way, through a father's eyes, I can certainly see and think as God does.  I too would do all that I could to bring that one child back.  I'd search the streets in the bad part of town.  I'd run into a burning building.  I'd risk and even give my life for one of my children.

God loves you and me with this unbelievable love. He risks everything for each one of us, lost as we are. He knows that as He searches for us there is the possibility that it may be too late - the wild beasts may have found us first - but He searches anyway.

What if we replaced the word "sheep" with friends?  Most of us would do what we could to search and rescue.  How about relatives?  I know, it depends on which ones, but seriously, we'd go after them too. Co-workers?  Sure.  Neighbors or fellow parishioners?  Probably.  How about strangers or even enemies?  Maybe, not sure?

In our fallen nature we may be tempted to say, "they chose that path" or "I'll pray for them to return" or "they're good people, they'll come back eventually" but God wants us to imitate Him. He wants us to leave what we know, leave our comfort zone, and reach out to help those lost sheep return. Remember, they are not just people we don't know or like, they are our brothers and sisters.  They are God's children and He wants our help finding them and helping them find Him.  When they do, it is just like the parable, it is surely time to party.

Let's search after the lost sheep in our lives and if we are lost, let's meet the Good Shepherd as He is searching for us. Let's not hide from Him. That would be baaaaaaaaaaaaaad. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

FROM THE SAINTS - If you want to flee from God, flee to Him instead. Flee to Him by confessing to Him; don't flee from Him by trying to hide. For you can't hide, but you can confess. . . . In failing to confess, Lord, I would only hide myself from myself, not myself from You. - St. Augustine

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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