December 11, 2018
2nd Week of Advent
1st Reading: Is 40:1–11Gospel: Mt 18:12–14
Jesus said to his disciples, “What do you think of this? If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? And I tell you: when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine that did not get lost. It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they don’t want even one of these little ones to be lost.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
In its September 15, 2003 issue, The Philippine Daily Inquirer published this news item: “Australia has offered to give away 57,000 live sheep to an unnamed country in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia rejected the shipment on health grounds, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said Sunday. Animal rights activists had demanded that the sheep be put down once and for all, claiming 3,400 of them had died a slow death after being stranded for 5 weeks in searing temperatures on the vessel dubbed as ship of death. Saudi Arabia refused to take the sheep last month after veterinarians found 6% of the sheep were suffering from the disease scabby mouth.”
From every angle the sheep had to be rejected. These were not only useless for human consumption but were also dangerous as they could contaminate not just animals but also humans. The story of the sheep is our story at the spiritual level. We were not only spiritually sick but were also sources of contamination to others. A revisit of the story of our first parents clarifies this point. It was really spiritually sick of Eve to covet the powers of God for which she succumbed to the enticement of the serpent. With this utter spiritual degeneration she became Adam’s contamination. Then they begot us, their children, and passed on to us their original sin.
Our spiritual degeneration notwithstanding, God claimed us once again as his own. The circumstances of winning us back were real milestones of our lives because these circumstances raised us to the level of the gods. God’s only Son came down to put on our humanity. He did not take the choicest part of being human but the lowest of it by taking upon himself all possible sufferings available to humans. He had special love for sinners. He showed willingness to leave the ninety-nine to search for even one lost sheep.
This season of Advent is one grace-filled season to thank God for this great redemption. The best way is to repent and prepare our hearts to receive Jesus when he comes, be it on Christmas Day or at the hour of our death. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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