God searches us to find us; not us searching for Him to find Him

June 28, 2019 – Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Eze 34:11-16; 

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I will lead them out from among the peoples
and gather them from the foreign lands;
I will bring them back to their own country
and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel
in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.
In good pastures will I pasture them,
and on the mountain heights of Israel
shall be their grazing ground.
There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,
and in rich pastures shall they be pastured
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6.

R.(1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Rom. 5:5b-11; 

Brothers and sisters:
The love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood,
will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
how much more, once reconciled,
will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Lk 15:3-7

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes:
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.”

A friend of mine once posted of his Facebook account his thoughts, he said, “I am so tired of searching for God.” From his post, I thought that God seemed not to be found. He was searching for God as he said he felt empty within, he felt that he could not find joy. And God seemed to have lost his way!

How could that be possible? That was what I thought when he said that God seemed not to be found! I heard this many times not just to that friend of mine. We have this belief that it is us who are searching for God, it is us who has been looking for Him, yet, at the end, we surrender because we have never found God in our life.

The difficulty lies in the fact that we have been looking and searching for something or someone that has never been lost. And it is very true with God. God has never lost his way. God stays with us and is always with us. Yet, a point in our life we claim that we were looking for him and did not find him.

Yes, we naturally look and search for something or someone that we have lost. But how could we find something if it is not lost after all? In fact, our search for God is useless because we tend to search God outside instead of recognizing Him in our very life.

However, our first reading from the Book of Ezekiel and the Gospel of Luke present to us an image of God that Jesus wants to show to us today. Ezekiel affirms that it is God who will search and lead back the strays. In the parable, Jesus also tells us of the Shepherd who seeks the lost and rejoices when he finds the lost sheep.

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This image of God tells us of a God who searches for the lost. Thus, God never lost His way. In fact, it is us who will be lost. We are the sheep in the stories who are driven by our selfish desires.

Is it not that we tend to be unmindful and unconscious of many things in life except for our personal desires and wants, except with those that will give us comfort and pleasure?

We might be full of ourselves, of what others can give us and of what is only beneficial to us without minding the needs of others. Like the sheep, we might also wander to the other side thinking that there is more security in addictions and vices, in depression and loneliness. So, we stray away from the comfort of our brothers and sisters, and from the presence of God.

These attitudes of ours are basically refusal to God’s invitation. And our reasons? We have other priorities. Thus, this reminds us of our passive and complacent attitudes towards the many invitations of God.

Nevertheless, God never tires to invites again and again. God invites us to be with Him, to join with Him and enjoy His abiding presence in our sacraments, in our liturgy and in our daily prayers, and in our community.

Jesus is teaching us of a God who invites us and searches for us not just once but in every opportunity of our life.

And this is the truth; it is God who has been searching and inviting us. He has been looking for us and he patiently waits for us to allow him to find us. And God takes the risk of being rejected. But though he has been rejected many times he never lost his confidence to invite us again and again. God always searches for the human heart and once he has found us he invites us to come to him.

And this is the message of this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – this God who loves us so much cannot and will not give up on us, no matter what because we are always so dear to Him. Indeed, love is the language of Sacred Heart of Jesus expressed in God’s desire to search and find us so that we will be given the fullness of life.

Thus, we don’t search for God because it is Him who has been searching for us. So, let us allow God to search for us and to allow him to find us. It is in this attitude that we will be able to listen to his many invitations and will inspire us to say YES to him. To say Yes and to affirm his invitation to recognize his presence in our life and with others. And when we are able to recognize him, then we will truly be joyful; our hearts will be filled with love of God, as St. Paul says to us. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

 

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A Dose of God Today

A-Dose-of-God-Today : Your Daily Spiritual Nourishment, tries to put into words the thoughts and experiences of the wonder of life through the Holy Scriptures and the many invitations of God today.

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