Daily Reflection
November 4th, 2004
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
Chaplain, School of Nursing
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

In today’s hectic world it is easy to feel alone and isolated.  We live in a world with many more people than in the time of our grandparents.  Technology has brought  many improvements to our lives, but it has also made many of our interactions with each other much more impersonal.  We spend a good deal of time waiting.  Waiting in lines to take care of various transactions.  Waiting on the phone to speak to a person rather than a recorded message.  We sometimes feel like we are just a number and that our concerns are not taken personally.  And sometimes we feel very alone and very far from God.  We are so busy that it is difficult to find time for talking with God.  We feel that God is far away and doesn’t have time for us. 

If that is how you feel, then today’s gospel reading is meant for you.  You are that lost sheep, and God, the good shepherd, is looking for you.  I don’t know much about sheep, but I have been told that they are very dumb animals.  When one sheep gets lost, it is difficult for him to find his way back to the flock.  The shepherd has to be very vigilant to guard against losing his sheep.  When even one gets lost, the shepherd will search and search until he finds it.  When I feel alone and far from God, I am like that lost sheep.  But God is like the shepherd, he is the good shepherd.  He is searching for me, the lost sheep.

I am sure that many people today are like me, and know little about sheep.  We find it difficult to identify ourselves as lost sheep.  But the point of this gospel reading is that God is looking for us.  When we feel far from God we need to hear this message.  We need to know that God is looking for us.  Rather than give up hope of being found, we need to continue to trust in God and beg him to find and help us.  The more alone we feel and the farther from God we feel , the more it is difficult to trust in God.  But God never gives up his search for us.  He will find us.  And as St. Luke tells us, there will be great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.  That one sinner could well be me.

Jesus, in his public life here on earth, gave us the example of being often in the company of sinners.  He cared very much about them and helped many of them to repent and be forgiven.  Today, the message of Jesus is that he wants to be with me.  He wants to help me to have the grace to repent of my sins.  He will forgive me.  Will I let him find me?     

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