What about the ninety-nine sheep in today’s Gospel? Did they rejoice when their wayward companion came back? Or had they thought they had been ridden of him once and for all?
An easy approach to today’s readings might focus solely on the sinfulness of the one or the few or on God’s persistence to seek the lost. That’s wonderful when we or someone we love is the one lost and found. But the harder question today is this: What if the lost sheep is someone we don’t want back?God does not save a person. God saves a people. Our work in Christ is not to save ourselves but to go to the margins and actively cooperate with God’s desire to save all people. Click To Tweet
If I’m brutally honest, I can think of a lot of people I’d rather not have back in my nice comfortable fold: the sexual predator; the convicted murderer; the person I suspect is about to steal my purse; the person who voted for the other candidate; the candidate. I think each of us name more people (and kinds of people) whom we and society think are unsalvageable, and our smaller, purer flock would better without them.
However, God does not save a person. God saves a people. Our work in Christ is not to save ourselves but to go to the margins and actively cooperate with God’s desire to save all people. Let us reconcile with our enemies now on earth and love them back into the fold as best we can because we’ll probably be spending eternity with them in heaven at the Father’s joyful banquet.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Sam Carter, Unsplash, CC0.