November/December: Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7)
Admonish the Sinner – (Stand up for what Jesus teaches)
November focuses our attention on the third Spiritual Work of Mercy – Admonish
the Sinner (Stand up for what Jesus teaches.). In combination with this month’s
Scriptural reference, The Parable of the Lost Sheep, we are reminded that although
each of us sins, the mercy of God singles us out for forgiveness from the Lord.
Jesus not only offers forgiveness to us, he literally seeks us out to return us to our
journey to his Kingdom.
In November we have a two-fold opportunity in living the third Spiritual Work of
Mercy. First, we are reminded of the gift of the Sacrament of Penance and
Reconciliation in which we are forgiven for the times we have sinned. Second, we
can be witnesses of forgiveness to others by the manner in which we allow them to
reconcile with us.
Our November Gospel tells the story of the lost sheep. Interesting animal to use in this parable. Sheep are
animals that generally do not run away. Dogs, unleashed, may seek to be free and leave. Even cows and pigs
will go off on their own. But sheep do not. If one wanders, it simply drifted away without intending to do so.
The Lord uses sheep to remind us that we wander off at times, perhaps not intentionally. We simply drift away
and then find ourselves removed from the flock without ever intending to do so.
Perhaps one poor decision rolled into another, then another, then another, until we find ourselves far from the
flock where we want to be.
Thanks to the Good Shepherd, we have the opportunity to be found and brought back to the flock. Our
“bleating” draws the attention of our shepherd to come after us, to bring us back, and to protect us. The
Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation reunites us with the flock where we desire to be.
Let us use this month of Thanksgiving to give gratitude to God for the gift of forgiveness.