Reflection for Thursday, November 3, 2022: 31st Week of Ordinary Time.

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Braddock, Suzanne
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|Hide and Seek to Lost and Found|The gospel for today seems to me to pick up on themes from both the first reading from St. Paul and the psalm - all have themes of loss and ultimately gain, searching and finding, and ultimately rejoicing.|For Paul, "…I even consider everything as a  loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."|Psalm 105 gives us the response: "Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord" and "Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly."|Finally, the wonderful pairing of two parables depicting hide and seek, lost and found, progressing from animals in a pasture to a human and her community.|Hide and Seek|The shepherd leaving his flock to search for one lost sheep led me to imagine myself as the sheep. I ask myself: what drew me away from the  flock, from Jesus? Perhaps I was tempted by what I thought was more tasty pasture? A desire to be on my own, away from the flock, the community? Denial of my need for the Shepherd, for Jesus?  I am unaware of the risk of being solitary – predators see the unsupported solo as a prime target. Perhaps I even became aware of being in a perilous spot, alone, and grew frightened.|And oh, how Jesus pursues us, won't let us stray.  We could run farther and faster but I suspect Jesus would always find us. His love and concern seem to me to be his search beacon finding even the most well-hidden of us. There are so many ways for us to hide – anger at past abuse, disagreement about how the church is managed, feeling community is not necessary.|But we will be found. And then does Jesus beat us, reprove us, shame us? No, rather he lifts us gently to his shoulders and carries us back home. Maybe we realize that yes, this is a good place to be.  And there is rejoicing in heaven over us.|Lost and Found|The second parable gives us a woman searching for a lost coin – she is more attuned to the need for community because when she finds the coin she calls in her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. A joy shared is a joy doubled, as the old saying goes.|I am immensely comforted knowing that Jesus is looking for us even more than we are searching for him. That really we are never truly alone, but always are in his searchlight.  |No matter how far we stray, there is always our loving Lord looking for us. And when we are found, there is rejoicing in heaven. And I am sure, in our hearts as well.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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