Father Steven Reilly, LC
Matthew 18:1-5 10, 12-14
At that time the
disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the
greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" He called a
child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I
tell you, unless you change and become like children,
you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever
becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the
Kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in
my name welcomes me. See that you do not
despise one of these little ones, for I say to
you that their angels in heaven always look upon
the face of my heavenly Father. 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.”
Prayer: Lord God, I believe you are present here
with me as I begin this moment of prayer. I
hope in you. I know that you will always
take care of me. I want this time with you
to be a sign of my love for you.
I seek only to please you, without desiring any spiritual
consolation for myself.
Petition: Heart of Christ, make my
heart more like yours!
1. Angelic Occupations: Raphael’s famous
painting of Mary known as the “Sistine Virgin” has a
remarkable detail that immediately catches the observer’s eye; Beneath
the Blessed Virgin, two little cherubs are in a
unique pose. They look a little bored with all the
attention that Pope St. Sixtus and St. Barbara are
paying to the Madonna and Child: They look as
if they can’t wait to go out and play once
all the fuss is over. Obviously Raphael’s sense of
humor doesn’t do the angelic nature justice. Supremely intelligent,
spiritual creatures, angels “always look upon the face the
heavenly Father.” Their task? To watch over and protect us.
Doesn’t that show us how much God loves each
one of us individually? Doesn’t that tell us of the
value of a single soul?
2. The Shepherd’s Commitment: The
Lord lifts a veil from the invisible world of
the angels so that we better understand how much
God loves us; now he give us the precious image
of the shepherd going in pursuit of the lost
sheep. The shepherd braves raw exposure to the elements
and danger from wild animals in his relentless effort to
find the one sheep who has wandered off. Christ
is committed to keeping the flock together. Are we
as committed to bringing back the lost sheep?
3. No One
Left Behind: Americans love the rugged individualist, the one
who lifts himself up by dint of his own focus
and effort. There’s virtue there, to be sure, but
Catholics need a broader vision. Besides lost sheep, there
are weak, marginalized and sick ones. If we have the
heart of Christ, no one can be left behind.
Every time we reach out in sacrificial love, we
are making Christ present in the world. We are called
to be his ambassadors!
Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus, your love gives us hope. You have
given us angels to watch over us, and you yourself
are constantly bringing back the lost sheep. Give us
hearts like your own, hearts filled with Christian charity!
Resolution: I will reach out to someone who
is sick or has drifted away from the Church.