Archive for September 11th, 2017

The televised images of 9/11 are etched on the memories of those who watched the events of that day.  One of the images was  firemen going into the twin towers to fight the fire and save those trapped and lost.

Every disaster has clips of those looking high and low for those in the rubble in hope of life or in the midst of the flood.

NYC firemen were killed in the service of their vocations.  This is  a sure testimony to faithfulness in serving our neighbors in a man’s vocation, to find and save even one who is  perishing. It is humbling.

Jesus taught and proclaimed the Kingdom a lot.  One time He said it is like  a shepherd who has 100 sheep and loses one, leaves the 99 upon the mountains in search of the 1 lost sheep. Against all odds.  A losing proposition. In the parable, we are not told the length of time: a hour, hours…into the dark night?  He finds the lost sheep!  He brings the lost sheep home upon the shoulders.

Jesus taught that a shepherd left the 99 sheep in search of the one lost sheep.   The math is simple. The shepherd goes out in search and rescue of the 1%, the little one who went astray.   Jesus goes out in search and rescue of the 1%. The 99 are already in the flock and they did not get into the flock by being the greatest!  The first are not the wealthiest in their bank accounts nor in their spirit.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs IS the Kingdom of heaven.”  We can soon realize that in the reign of God, His Kingdom, new math is at work.  It turns out that the 1% are actually 100% dependent and needy as the Lord tells us in His word.  The one sheep went astray has the 99 for company as we can all go astray.  As the Lord makes clear:

Isaiah 53:6:All   we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

Romans 3: For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

He came to find His lost creatures, lambs for whom the Shepherd bled.  The Lord is so clear about finding the lost sheep: And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish (Matthew 18).   Jesus placed a child in the midst of the disciples saying the greatest is the least, as the first will be last and the last first.  He took lowest place:  God born of the virgin’s womb, and raised a child who heard that King Herod slaughtered the boy children to kill Him.  He went in the place of all killers, in thought, word and deed to redeem us all.  The Lord took the lowest place and now in the highest place He brings us ever into His reign by His Body and Blood.

So many times we think of the pictures of Jesus carrying lamb on His shoulders.  In the parable, it was not a lamb.  It was a full-grown sheep weighing a few hundred pounds. Like a firemen carrying a fully grown man out of burning building.  Rejoice! There is more rejoicing in heaven over one who repents than 99 who do not.

Jesus went into the burning building.  No chance of Him coming out of alive. He came to save those who were lost.  He is risen.  In the midst of the Twin Towers the cross above, from beams of the Word Trade Center, was found.  May He always find us.

The bravery of firemen should encourage us to search for the lost. They did not do so alone but with each other. We are not yet called to be martyrs.  Our risk might be social discomfort, i.e. shame.  But we are not ashamed:  for He died and rose for you and for me. “Oh, wondrous thought He found me when I sought Him not!”  In this crooked and lost generation, our vocation as His Church is not spiritual self-satisfaction but to be ready to bear the hurting home.  The Lord will.

Let us pray…

Lord Jesus, light of the world, You shine with the brightness of the sun in the darkness of our crooked and twisted generation.  Give us strength to shine as lights in the world as we live out our baptismal life by serving our neighbors with thanksgiving and joy as sacrificial offerings of mercy and love;  for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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