At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.
What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
It was always a family adventure when we went to the beach. After walking through the hot sand with all our gear, we found ingenious ways to amuse ourselves between mad dashes into the cooling waves of Lake Michigan. While Mom and Dad laughed with friends, our local gang made sand castles, flipped the frisbee, and took turns burying each other in the sand. Those lazy days were so sweet, much as the psalmist imagines.
One hot August day, our neighbor Kevin disappeared into the crowd. It was a while before anyone realized he was missing. We were panicked as we fanned out across the wide beach to find him. After what seemed like an eternity we spied him up by the boathouse, chatting up the lifeguards who were on break. Relief!
All of this came to mind while pondering today’s gospel. Is there a “lost one” in my life whom I should reach out to today? Or, to turn the tables, are their family and friends trying to reach out to me…and do I run away or can I let them in?
—the Jesuit prayer team
Jesus, good shepherd of my family and friends, open my heart today to those in need. Give me patience and understanding; give them openness and hope. Watch over us all on our journey through this endless summer of life. Show us your face!
Please share the Good Word with your friends!