"A man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away; will he not leave the ninety-nine out on the hills and go in search of the stray?" —Matthew 18:12
Would you leave ninety-nine pressing matters to go in search of a stray? Would you stop all church activities to reach out to the lost? Would you interrupt your schedule, work, and life to share your faith with someone fallen away? Jesus has a heart for the stray sheep. He cries when He sees them (Lk 19:41). He drops everything to seek them. His heart is moved with pity (Mt 9:36). There's more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine others (Lk 15:7).
Do you have Christ's heart for the strays? Would you even be separated from Christ, if it would help the lost come back? (Rm 9:3) How much do you care? Begin now to pray ten days for Christ's heart. Possibly for the first time in your life, you will shed tears for the lost sheep. You will share your faith and pray with a greater intensity than you've had in years.
"Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you backsliders. Begin to lament, to mourn, and to weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and He will raise you on high" (Jas 4:8-10).
Prayer: Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like Yours.
Promise: "It is the Lord Who marches before you; He will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed." —Dt 31:8
Praise: St. Clare left behind all that secular society had to offer to follow the Lord in simplicity and poverty. She pursued her call to follow Jesus like St. Francis, despite opposition from friends and family.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Evangelism and Worship, or our tape on audio AV 49-1 or video V-49.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009
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