December 7, 2004
St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor
Father Jason Koch,
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? And
if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he
rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did
not stray. In just the same way, it is not
the will of your heavenly Father that one of these
little ones be lost.”
Introductory Prayer:Dear Jesus, my Lord and God,
assist me in this moment of prayer. Help me to
concentrate on your infinite love and listen to the inspirations
that you wish to give me this morning. I believe
in you. I hope in you. I love you. Lord,
be my shepherd and only meaning in life.
Petition:Jesus, you are
the Good Shepherd. Give me the grace to experience your
presence in my life.
1. Not All Shepherds Are the Same.
In today’s society the image of the shepherd doesn’t say
as much as it did in Jesus’ time. Psalm 23
was probably one of Christ’s favorite psalms for he uses
the image of the shepherd frequently: “The Lord is my
shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” Sheep have a
trusting attitude and relationship with the shepherd. Instinctively they know
that the shepherd will care for them. Christ is our
shepherd who loves us. In our lives, other people or
things promise to be our happiness and lead us into
thinking that they are the shepherd. But this is short-lived;
when the real trial comes they disappear and leave us
alone just as a hired hand leaves the sheep when
the wolf appears, since the sheep aren’t his. Let us
renew our commitment to the Christ the Good Shepherd since
he is the real shepherd of our souls.
2. Searching Out
the Lost Sheep. In every group of animals there is
always one that seems to get distracted and eventually lost.
Many times in our lives we too get distracted and
leave the security of Christ and his plan. Sin is
what separates us from Christ. If we are not careful,
we can be easily seduced by the world, by the
fascination of material goods or pleasure, or place our security
in them. If we ever find that we have fallen
or gotten lost, God seeks us out until we are
found and reconciled with him.
3. Let the Celebration Begin! I
suppose that anyone who has children and has temporarily “lost”
one of them can empathize with the joy God experiences
when we are found once again and reunited with him.
We may try to outdo him in love and generosity,
but that cannot happen because his love surpasses all our
imagining. Today, let us take a moment to talk to
God about our state in life and really resolve to
let him be actively present in our everyday living. Could
there be any better way to prepare for Christmas than
opening the door of our hearts? Christ is there knocking,
asking to be allowed inside.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, I realize
that at times I can be separated from you because
of my pride, vanity and sensuality. Grant me the grace
to see the occasions of sin in my life and
give me the resolve to firmly reject them. Let me
experience your presence in my day and help me bring
others to experience you.
Resolution: Today I will be attentive
in my conversations to bring out only the good and
positive in others.