Fr. Mike’s Homily for Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent (1)










Fr. Mike’s Homily for Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Theme: The good shepherd

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Tuesday December 7 2021

Mt 18:12-14

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.”

One of the most endearing images of Jesus in the Gospels is that of the Good Shepherd. It depicts more faithfully His character. A true shepherd is simple and lowly. He is also hardworking and patient. But above all, he has genuine concern for the well being of the sheep of his flock. He brings them to green pastures and clean water for their nourishment. He protects them from all danger. And he is even ready to face the attacks of wild beasts.

All these qualities are clearly seen in Jesus. Rightly, then, that He refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd – and more. St. John Chrysostom points this out: “What shepherd feeds his sheep with his own blood? But Christ feeds us with His own Blood and in all things unites us to Himself.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus reveals another quality of the Good Shepherd: intimate knowledge of and compassion for each and every member of his flock. He calls them by name, and so he is quick to know when one is missing, and immediately goes out in search of the stray. Leaving the “ninety-nine” does not mean abandonment of the majority. For sure, he leaves them in a safe and secure place. Rather, this illustrates how important each and every sheep. One missing sheep is equally valuable as the rest of the flock.

That is why, finding the lost one, the shepherd “rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.” That is how much God loves every sinner: “It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” Each person is important in the eyes of God. So, it gives Him supreme joy when a sinner returns to His loving arms.

This, then, is the good news: God loves us unconditionally. He never gets tired searching for us until He finds us. He never gives up on us, and is not only ready to welcome us once again in the fold but is filled with joy in having us back.

At this point in our Advent preparation, many of us have already begun putting up the Belen. The image of the tiny Infant Savior is the clear proof of God’s desire to search for His lost sheep. It is also good to remind ourselves that the first to receive the news about the birth of the Savior were the shepherds. Consequently, they were the first visitors to pay homage and adoration to the newborn Child, and the first evangelizers, announcing the glad tidings of salvation. The fact that the shepherds were given such an important role in the birth of Jesus could already be a sign that this Child will eventually be the Good Shepherd.

Looking at the shepherds in the Nativity scene should remind us of the words of Jesus at the last Supper: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn 13:14). He constantly urges us to be like the shepherds: humble, simple, obedient, zealous and generous. But more importantly, He wants us to be shepherds to one another, having genuine compassion and care for the suffering, the unwanted and the unloved.

St. Teresa of Kolkata said: “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

The world needs shepherds after the heart of the Good Shepherd.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches




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