Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
November 5th, 2009

Dick Hauser, S.J.

Theology Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Today’s Gospel presents my favorite image of the Lord in the Gospels:  the Good Shepherd.  How consoling to realize that our God cares for us personally as individuals and not only as part of a community of believers.   And even more consoling is the realization that our shepherd does not abandon and reject us when we go astray but goes out of his way to bring us back, “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?”

How sad that so many Christians imagine God and Jesus so differently. We imagine the Lord primarily as king, ruler or judge meticulously keeping a heavenly scorecard of our good and bad actions.  Further we imagine the Lord as abandoning and rejecting and perhaps even punishing us when we go astray. We think that we must earn God’s love by fulfilling religious obligations.

But God’s love for us is unconditional and constant.  Like the love of the good shepherd in this parable God’s love seeks us out when we stray desiring only that we return home so there may be even more rejoicing, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, experienced this unconditional love. In a vision Ignatius saw the Father present him to Jesus and tell Jesus to take him as his servant.  Ignatius lived in the deepest personal communion with Jesus, even insisting that his small band of followers be named the “Company of Jesus” and not, as some were insisting, after himself -- like the followers of Benedict, Francis and Dominic.  

Today the Society celebrates the Feast of All Saints and Blessed of  the Society of Jesus. Today also the Society observes National Vocation Promotion Day.  The “Jesuits” are inviting men throughout the nation to consider whether God might not be calling them to join their company, to experience Jesus’ unconditional love and together serve the Kingdom of God.
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