Jesus Goes to All Lengths to Find Us
“In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
Unbeknownst to me as I strolled along the long aisle way of the parish church preaching, a toddler had slipped away from her parents on that Sunday morning. As she wandered further down the aisle, she became only more and more irritable, confused and lost. From her vantage point, every pew looked the same – pew after pew, one set of legs after another. I saw her until I could no longer move along the aisle. Looking down, there she was, grabbing ahold of my alb and legs. I bent down, gathered her in my arms and returned the toddler to her expectant parents.
Today’s Gospel gives us the tender metaphor of Jesus as a shepherd that goes to all lengths to find the one lost sheep. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, deeply committed to us, calls each one of us by our name. He knows us intimately. Jesus knows our history, our family, our struggle, our problems, our individual lives.
He searches for us when we are lost, confused, or when we are far from who he has called us to be, our purpose in life. He goes the distance for us and even lays down his life for us. He watches out for us. How fortunate we are in our Faith!
Advent is a season of longing … waiting. We await the One who will come again, the One who knows us, the One who desires to be with us, who wants to free us, the One who will go to all lengths determined to find us and return us to his fold!
Fr. Mike Bayard, S.J., is the Socius of the Jesuits West Province and lives in Portland, Oregon.