The Joy of Our Lord

December 6, 2022
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Readings for Today

Saint Nicholas, Bishop—Optional Memorial

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?”  Matthew 18:12

This Gospel passage goes on to say that the man who finds that one stray sheep “rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.” At first, this might seem unfair. Why not primarily rejoice over the ninety-nine who did not stray? Saint Hillary, in commenting on this passage, interprets the man who sought out the one stray sheep as the Son of God. He left the “ninety-nine,” meaning the glory of the hosts of Heaven, to descend to earth to seek out straying humanity. Humanity as a whole is that one lost sheep. That includes us all.

The first thing this interpretation reveals to us is that the Son of God was clearly sent on a mission to seek out each and every one of us after we strayed far from the Father in Heaven. The Father did not sit back and wait for us to return. Rather, He sent the Son on a diligent mission of seeking us out to bring us back into His divine fold.

As we reflect upon this passage, it is important to see the zeal and determination of our Lord as He seeks us out. Do you see this in your own life? Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that it is primarily our responsibility to seek out God. And though we certainly have this responsibility, our duty is made much easier when we understand how passionately our Lord seeks us out and desires to find us when we stray. Only in Heaven will we fully understand all that our Lord has done to seek us out, day in and day out. But for now, we must strive to understand this spiritual truth so that we will be more open to Jesus’ diligent search for us.

A second thing this passage reveals is the joy in the Heart of the Son of God every time He finds us and carries us away from our sin. Too often we can fall into the trap of seeing God as a judgmental God who is angry at us and condemning. But if we understand the extent to which the Son of God went, so as to find us when we stray, and if we can understand the joy in His heart upon finding us and carrying us away from sin, then we will more readily open ourselves to Him, to His gentle invitations, and to His merciful Heart every time He comes to us by grace.

Reflect, today, upon the great anticipation in the Heart of our Lord as He personally seeks you out. The anticipation is that of joy—the joy that He is filled with as He picks you up and gently carries you back to the Father. Allow this joy in the Heart of our Lord to come to fruition so that you will share in this abundance of joy.

My diligent Lord, You seek me out, day and night, never tiring of calling me to return more fully to Yourself. Please help me to fill Your Heart with joy by always responding to Your gentle invitations of love and mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Saint of the Day – Saint Nicholas, Bishop—Optional Memorial

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