Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Advent Daily Devotionals - The Power of His Search for Us - 11th Dec


10th Day of Advent: 11th December 2018

Readings of the Day:
First Reading, Isaiah 40:1-11
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14

First Reading, Isaiah 40:1-11
'Console my people, console them,' says your God. 'Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and cry to her that her period of service is ended, that her guilt has been atoned for, that, from the hand of Yahweh, she has received double punishment for all her sins.' A voice cries, 'Prepare in the desert a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God across the wastelands. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be levelled, every cliff become a plateau, every escarpment a plain; then the glory of Yahweh will be revealed and all humanity will see it together, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.'
A voice said, 'Cry aloud!' and I said, 'What shall I cry?'
-'All humanity is grass and all its beauty like the wild flower's. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of Yahweh blows on them. (The grass is surely the people.) The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever.'
Go up on a high mountain, messenger of Zion. Shout as loud as you can, messenger of Jerusalem! Shout fearlessly, say to the towns of Judah, 'Here is your God.' Here is Lord Yahweh coming with power, his arm maintains his authority, his reward is with him and his prize precedes him. He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!
Sing to Yahweh, bless his name! Proclaim his salvation day after day, declare his glory among the nations, his marvels to every people!
Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world is set firm, it cannot be moved. He will judge the nations with justice.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad! Let the sea thunder, and all it holds!
Let the countryside exult, and all that is in it, and all the trees of the forest cry out for joy, at Yahweh's approach, for he is coming, coming to judge the earth; he will judge the world with saving justice, and the nations with constancy.

Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14
'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? In truth I tell you, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’

Writer’s reflection

I think I’m a stubborn sheep. I like to go away on my own, explore new paths and try new pastures. I’m convinced I know the way and I can prove myself by testing the limits of my endurance. In all sorts of situations I very often rely just on myself and want to be in control of where I’m going. The trouble is, I sometimes get lost…

Do you know the feeling of disbelief and despair when all your plans, all your good and, even holy, plans have been shattered? All the hopes and visions destroyed, and you just don’t understand why? It could have been a relationship which was so promising, a friendship that was so life-giving, a project which others admired and you were giving your whole heart to. And then it all collapsed, you really don’t know why, and you ended up feeling completely lost and discouraged.

In those moments I cry to God for help, I cry not knowing what I have done wrong and why. I feel sad and ashamed, and sometimes even angry at God for not helping me with my plans. Well, yes… my plans, not His.

I love how prophet Isaiah writes in the first reading “Prepare in the desert a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God across the wastelands”. I think that it’s most often in our own life desert where God finds us, it is in our emotional wastelands as lost and wandering sheep where He comes to our rescue. Because He is a patient God who waits for us to call, to cry out to Him, to understand our need for Him and our utter dependence on His love and grace.

In the Psalm today the whole creation is rejoicing at the coming of God to judge the world with justice. In the First Reading the people of Jerusalem are called to rejoice as all the sins have been atoned for. We then have an image of God “coming with power” and the writer says that “his reward is with him and his prize precedes him”.

It’s so amazing how this POWERFUL GOD is compared to a shepherd holding his sheep in his hands, close to his heart, as if His REWARD WERE THE SHEEP He cares for. That His power is glorified in His very search and finding of us

Looking at the beautiful Gospel passage about the lost sheep my attention was once again drawn to the JOY with which the shepherd finds the one lost sheep. The sheep represent all of us in God’s flock. How incredible! In today’s readings Jesus presents God the Father as the most powerful God who comes to judge the world - and His victorious prize are the sheep, you and me, He carries in his arms!
Jesus saves us and we are His reward, we are His victory; as “it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost”.
We just have to allow Him to find us.

Prayer reflection:
Thank you Lord for being a loving shepherd who is so completely in love with his sheep that he will do everything to find the lost one out of the hundred.
This Advent, I pray that we may recognise our need for you more and more every day and let ourselves be led to whatever pastures you chose for us.
And when we get lost, may we find rest in your arms.

Writer Bio: by Agata Kowalska

Hi everyone, I’m Agata and I’m 25. I live in Southampton at the moment where I started my first year of being a junior doctor.

I love to talk about God and with Him all the time and it brings me lots of joy to see people growing in faith and becoming who they were created to be in His image. I love hot chocolate (without sugar!) and being surrounded by nature so the proximity of the New Forest is very much appreciated.

My message to readers is: talk to Him, God knows you already and He will be delighted to tell you more about you and Him.


1 comment

  1. Encouraging and insightful read!- I like how you have connected God's love for his people in Isaiah to his love for us sheep. And I agree, we are good at getting lost and wondering us sheep but he helps and forgives us. Psalm 23 also paints a good pic of this :)


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