The ornament for today is decorated with a picture of a lamb. Zimmerman talks to the children about Jesus, the Lamb of God, and how he sacrificed himself for our sins.
In the gospel reading for today Jesus also talks about lambs. He says, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your Heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (Matthew 18:12-14)
My husband and I are fortunate to have a large family. We have seven children and we feel very blessed.
When they were young, and many of them were at home, we all went to mass together every week. They were all baptized and made their first communion. Most of them chose to be confirmed.
As they grew up and began to make their own choices, some of them drifted away. They have all sorts of valid reasons for being dissatisfied by the way the things in our big church are run. I understand their reasons.
It is very upsetting to think about though, not because I think they are lost, because I don’t. But because my generation is not providing them a welcome church. Their peers are not attending mass. Our hierarchy is misbehaving in ways they find repugnant. They can’t bring themselves to be present in a church they feel is out of touch.
I have been praying about this for many years. I can think of no solution except we need to be open to the Holy Spirit and his breath of change.
I think Jesus may be seeking through the 99 waiting on the hill for those who will transform his church into a place of welcome for all.
Only then can he seek for the lambs gone astray, when he has a truly welcome space to bring them home to. *
*My reflections are on the larger Catholic Church and not my home parish.