Getting Ready for Lent Novena: Day Six
Day Six. Saturday, February 22, 2020
You’re the lost sheep found by God.
Silence. Find a quiet place in your house, at work or school, or best, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Breathe slowly. Relax. Imagine that your cares and concerns are being placed in a box where they will not be forgotten, where you and God can together seek to solve them at the right time. God’s time. At the beginning, it may be helpful to set a timer. Three minutes of silence is probably a minimum. It could seem long at first, but hopefully becomes more peaceful as you get used to the silence. This time of silence and focus on breathing is like stretching before exercise.
Ask God to come into your heart. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Seeking Jesus is at the heart of all prayer, even if we do not always realize it.
Today’s Scripture. Luke 15:1-7. The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. “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? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
Today’s Reflection. When Saint John the Baptist started preaching, it was, according to Jesus, the tax collectors and sinners who believed in him. When Jesus preaches, it is the tax collectors and the sinners who get a fair amount of Jesus’ attention. In fact, seeking out the sinner seems to be an overriding preoccupation for Jesus. There is the woman who searches her entire house to find the lost coin. There is the Father who celebrates the return of his son, a son who has used what his father gave him for the purpose of selfish sin. This gospel is Jesus seeking out the lost sheep.
Leaving the 99 sheep in search of the one lost sheep might seem like a bad economic choice. That is, of course, until we realize that we are that one lost sheep. Some think that God is always looking to catch people at sin. Some people view the Church in the same way. Some can see God and the Church as simply wishing to spoil people’s fun. But that is not the way God is.
Rather, God is desperately seeking to find us so that God can help us to become the persons he has created us to be. We can easily become distracted from God when we think only of ourselves. We react angrily when we do not get our own way. We feel cheated when our selfish desires are pointed out to us. We discard others when they are in need, because we do not want to sacrifice even a little of our time or money.
But getting ready for Lent is about seeking to imitate the love of Jesus for others. He was ever so generous, emptying himself for our salvation. When he finds us, he helps us to realize that when we focus only on ourselves, there is never enough money, never enough pleasure, never enough fame. We find that even when we get our own way every time, it is not enough. Worse, we can feel alone, empty, and sad.
When we allow God to find us, we discover the joy he seeks to bring us. There is fullness in our hearts and souls. When we become like Jesus, when discover what can seem like a paradox: by turning to meet the needs of others, it is then that we are found by God.
Our Father. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by the name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory Be. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Today’s Challenge. Think of someone who might be alone, or an outcast, and make it a point to bring them to prayer, and to do something for them.
Intentions. Lord, help us to see your presence in the outcasts of our day, just as you did with tax collectors and sinners.
Closing Prayer. Dear Jesus, you provided a powerful example for each of us. You showed us that by seeking out the lost and lonely, the tax collectors and sinners, it was then that we discovered your marvelous love. Help us to see those in our lives who need of your tremendous love. Help us to reach out to the poor and suffering. Help us to know that by seeing their brokenness, and receiving your grace, our own brokenness is healed by you. Lord, in all we do, help us to be the vehicle of your grace, allowing us to be found by your embrace of love and affection for all people. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Brothers Unite by Alexander Nakarada