Scripture: 1st Reading: Is40,1-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps96,1-3,10-13; Gospel: Mt18,12-14
Great words of consolation. Soothing words of tenderness. Prophecy about the end of the desolation of Jerusalem and the pardon and forgiveness of God. Great message from God who loved His people with an everlasting love and who desired nothing but their welfare.
The word today consoles and comforts. The way of the One who would bring this consolation and comfort, that is, the hearts and souls of those who would be called to faith, was to be prepared by a voice that cried in the wilderness. This voice was not the voice of the One who was to come but just that of the forerunner. The message of this voice was clear: "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
The word today teaches us that all that we treasure will ultimately count for nothing. This is because they will fade and wither, go into extinction, void and oblivion. That is why we must not be attached to them. We should also be detached because our God, the One who deserves our unalloyed attention, is coming to visit us.
When the Lord eventually comes, His arm would rule for Him and He would bring His recompense with Him. As a loving and compassionate Lord, He would feed His flock like a shepherd, "gather the lambs in His arms ... carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."
It was exactly this compassionate and merciful face of God that our Lord came to reveal at His first historical coming. Today, in the gospel, our Lord taught us about this incomprehensible care and profligate love of the Father in the parable of the lost sheep. This parable shows clearly to us that for the Shepherd, every sheep counts and the loss of one is considered great.
Our Lord also taught us through this parable never to lose hope and thus despair even when our lives are not moving in the right direction or even when we have outrightly lost direction and missed the road. Our Lord teaches us through it about God who earnestly, ardently and patiently searches to bring the strayed sinner back to communion with Him.
Our Lord teaches us that God rejoices more over the one sinner who repents than over the ninety nine that never went astray. He teaches us today that it is not the will of His Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Great words of comfort. Great revelation of the compassionate face of God. As we continue our Advent journey, let us continually remember that the Son came to earth to redeem and save us. Let this never be forgotten. May our Advent journey bring God's blessings into our lives.
Let us pray: "O God, who have shown forth your salvation to all the ends of the earth, grant, we pray, that we may look forward in joy to the glorious Nativity of Christ." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.