Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Matt 18:12-14

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

After my ordination, I was supposed to go to Ghana, Africa. But due to unforeseen circumstance the plan did not push through. Although not in the mission station, I can still become missionary. Today, Jesus reminds us to continue his mission. “Look for the stray one. Bring them back to the fold.” As a priest, my greatest is when I exercise my authority to forgive sins through the sacrament of reconciliation. I believe this is my greatest mission. To reach out not only to the respectable but to the outcasts. The parable of the one hundred sheep teaches us about Jesus’ special concern for sinners. Jesus came “to seek and save the lost.” This is our mission, our apostolate. This attitude impels our Christian communities to reach out and not just work with those who already are in touch with the Church. (Fr. Yoyo Rebucias, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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The theme of today’s gospel reading is God’s passionate love for humanity. This same parable is told dramatically in Luke 15:4-32 together with two others; the Lost Drachma and the Prodigal Son. Authors and some theologians call the three parables the summary of the whole Bible, especially the New Testament. Our God is a tremendous lover and he loves each one of us as though we are the only ones existing in this planet.

Since every person is a unique individual, God loves him/her with utmost patience. The analogy of a person to that of a sheep is very proper. A person goes astray for the simplest of reasons, to satisfy his curiosity, pride, power or pleasure. So too, is a sheep. It is a stupid creature, so easily fooled! God actively works for man’s return every time he goes astray. He will seek him by varied means and signs to convince him to return to the fold. God rejoices when He finds the lost one. He will protect him from going astray again. May the picture of a good and happy Shepherd with a lost sheep on His shoulder encourage us to love Him in return. (Fr. Flor Camacho, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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In this short gospel one may be led to think that God is happier when man goes astray. Thus, we would think that these three verses could easily create spiritually spoiled souls.

Yet, on second look this need not be the case, especially if we focus on the first clause of verse 13: “When he finds it…” and the conclusion in verse 14: “…your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.” In a word, what causes God’s happiness is the finding of the lost ones and the original desire of the Father of not losing any of His children and that is us.

So what do we make of the word “happier” in verse 13? I guess human experience can best answer that. We only have to remember those times that we lost and searched for something dear to us and the joy we felt upon finding it, plus the greater appreciation that developed in us towards that which was recovered.

The whole point is encouragement. When we offend someone and truly feel guilty about it, there is that great hesitation in us to reconcile due to the fear of rejection or non-acceptance by the offended party. How much more if that offended party is God Himself? So we need this assurance by the Son of God Himself, that when we return to God from sin, a sure and special welcome from Him awaits us. (Fr. Kit Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Every year, as we prepare for Christmas, the Church invites us through this quotation from Isaiah: “To prepare the way for the Lord”, to remove the obstacles that hinder His coming. Scriptures reveal God as one who has this ardent desire to be with and stay with His children. He is Emmanuel, the one who comes “to live in our midst.”

Today, we do not talk about clearing and making the road smooth, rather, we talk about opening our hearts, preparing our hearts for His coming. Clearing our hearts of any obstacle that would hinder his “staying and being with us.”

Jesus Himself enumerates some of these obstacles: for from  the inside of a person’s heart come the devil ideas which lead him to do immoral things, to rob, kill, commit adultery, be greedy and do all sorts of evil things, indecency, deceit, slander, pride (Mk 7:21-22). Sometimes, also our anger against our parents can be an obstacle, racial prejudice, indifference in front of the need of an immediate neighbor, the lack of attention and love in the family.

How do we concretely prepare for the coming of the Lord?

Asking forgiveness every time we realize that we have built an obstacle, a barrier between us and him. It is a sincere act of humility and truth when we show ourselves to Him as we are, bringing to Him our fragility, our mistakes, our sins. It is an act of confidence in His love as Father. It is an expression of our desire to do better and to start all over again.

Confessing our personal sins is also a great help. We leave the confessional with the certainty that we have been made new, discovering with joy again that we are truly children of God. Thus, God Himself will be the one to remove every obstacle, who will “straighten” the way, and establish again that rapport of love with each one. (Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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December 6, 2016 Tuesday

The movie Saving Pvt. Ryan was set during World War II. A platoon of highly trained Rangers led by a captain was sent to save the said soldier whose brother died in that same war. The government, wanting to bring home at least one of the sons alive, ordered the retrieval of Pvt. Ryan from the battle field. Throughout the movie, the recurring question was ever present: Was one life worth risking several others? For, indeed, the whole platoon died saving that one.

The proponents of family planning visualize the world’s resources as a pie. If the population is 4, each one gets a fourth. If 8, each one gets a half of the fourth. If 16, each one gets even a smaller piece. And that pie is not even the family size pie. In effect, such logic says that the smaller the population, the bigger the size one gets from the shared pie. Not said loudly but equally clear is the proposition allowing one to kill all the rest that one can have the pie for oneself especially if it is a personal size in the first place.

Jesus proposes that an individual is so precious as to even risk losing the ninety-nine. Such a thought would be highly unacceptable for one who counts resources so mathematically accurate and so impersonally clouded. But to one who believes s/he is loved as if s/he is the only one in the whole world, such an intention is only too natural.

Maybe that is why St. Nicolas (Santa Claus) is so popular among the children. Children demand a love that is total and complete. Grown ups, however, who pretend to have outgrown such a sentiment, also demand an absolute love. We know that is how God loves.

Yes, each one is worth it! (Fr. Vic Rayco, SVD | SJCS, Manila Bible Diary 2016)

http://rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/1056-december-6-2016-tuesday

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

TUESDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT – MATEO 18:12-14. UNSA MAN KABILILHON ANG USA KA TAWO? Kon si Caifas ang pasultihon, ang usa ka tawo mahimong isakripisyo para sa kadaghanan. Siya ang nag-ingon, “Wala ba kamo masayod nga mas maayo alang kaninyo nga usa ra ka tawo ang mamatay alang sa katawhan kay sa malaglag ang tibuok nasod?” Apan, para kang Hesus, ang matag tawo, bisan ang makasasala, bililhon ug angayng luwason. Sama sa maayong magbalantay sa karnero, mahimo niyang biyaan ang 99 aron pangitaon ang usa nga nawala. Ang baroganan ni Kristo maoy hinungdan sa pagbabag sa Simbahan sa Death Penalty. Si Bishop Joseph Fiorenza nag-ingon: “We oppose the death penalty not only for what it does to those guilty of heinous crime, but for what it does to all of us, it offers the tragic illusion that we can protect life by taking life.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/12/tuesday-of-2nd-week-of-advent.html

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LOST THEN FOUND – “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?” – Matthew 18:12

I was down on my knees, begging God to give me wisdom and lead me to the truth.

I was on the crossroads of leaving the Catholic Church. I still went to Mass every day but I was also attending Bible studies in a Christian church where I was learning so much about the faith. I pleaded Jesus to lead me to the true Church.

A week later, I was surfing channels on TV. I chanced upon a documentary on the life of Pope John Paul II. As I watched, I suddenly started to cry inexplicably. I was touched by the holiness of this man!

At that moment, I knew in my heart that I was in the right Church. Then I cried a river at how God answered my soul’s prayer.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life. If we follow Him, we will never get lost. And even if we do, He will always find us. And how can He lose us when our names are forever etched in the palm of His hand? Ronna Singson-Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)

Reflection:Nothing will ever separate us from the love of God.

Jesus, my Savior, thank You for leading me to the truth.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-12-06

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OF ALL PLACES, WHY THE STABLE? The Gospel of St. Luke states that since there was no more room for Mary and Joseph in the the regular inn, the pregnant mother had to be accommodated in the stable. Eventually, the birth of the Child Jesus was in a stable, and He was laid in a manger (Luke 2:1-7). We have taken this as a matter of fact.

The Good News now makes us think deeper. Jesus in His ministry alluded to His coming as one with a mission to seek out the lost sheep. Doing so, Jesus did not only come with God’s power to save. He comes with great compassion and empathy. His birth in a stable, where animals are sheltered, is in truth a parable in action.

Pope Francis captures the lesson for us very well when he taught that the shepherd does best when he takes on the odor of the sheep. From His first moment as God-Man, Jesus literally takes on the smell of the sheep, the stench of the dwelling of the animals. Later in His three-year ministry, Jesus sits at table fellowships with the “black sheep” of society: the deformed, the despised tax collectors, the “anawim”who never knew much of the Law, the looked-down-upon prostitutes, the bastardized Samaritans.

The “first acts” of a man in ministry, like the first acts of a new pope, are watched and analyzed closely as they indicate certain values that will reveal his way of doing things. Jesus’ “first act” of manifesting Himself as God-Man born in a stinking stable thus indicate: He comes to save us by immersing Himself deep into our human conditions. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: Sit down before a “Belen.” Enter into the reality of the scene — the smell of hay, of cows, sheep and goats. What does this tell you about being a missionary “in the name of Jesus”?

Dear Jesus, grant me a missionary heart that longs to share Your love with those in need . Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-12-06

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December 06, 2016

“Where there is smoke, there is fire,” according to a well-known proverb. Likewise, if a given saint’s memory is surrounded by beautiful legends about the saint’s holiness, it seems reasonable to think that at least some of these legends have a basis in reality.

About today’s saint, we have very few hard facts but plenty of beautiful legends. In terms of facts, we only know that Nicholas was bishop of Mira, on the southern coast of Turkey during the first half of the fourth century. Legends of his wonderful generosity made him the “Santa Claus” of recent centuries.

One legend about his great charity goes like this. A poor man had three daughters of marriageable age but could not provide them with dowries. Our good Nicholas, having heard of this, managed on three separate nights to toss a bag of gold coins through the window of the poor man’s house, thus enabling him to marry off his three daughters. Over time this particular legend was transformed into a tradition of gift giving on the saint’s feast. In the English-speaking countries, St. Nicholas became, by a twisting of the tongue, Santa Claus, who is portrayed to young children as bringing them gifts at Christmas time.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3725-december-06-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

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