Daily Gospel Reflection for December 11, 2018

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Today’s Gospel: Matthew 18:12-14

Today is my birthday. As a child growing up, I would often come up with secret meanings for each number that a new year would represent. As I grew older, my life would also involve looking back to order and reorder different parts of my life. This “mystical mathematics” was not unlike keeping track of 100 details and trying to fit the last one in.

Two things struck me as I read the footnotes for this Gospel. One is that this section of Matthew is supposed to be about church order, not so much in terms of hierarchical titles and structure, but in terms of dependency and relationship. Thus, Jesus uses the example of a child not to highlight the child’s innocence, but the child’s utter dependence and trust upon adults in order to live and grow properly. Who has been that good example for me? How have I followed the ones to join the 99?

Secondly, this section is concerned with what to do with people who have joined the Church, but then have gone astray. We all sin, but how do we maintain the wholeness of the 100 when there is always the pull to go off one’s own way?

How have I been the odd one out? I am the one who married a Jew, raised a family, buried a child, and brought another to the Easter Vigil. And God is not finished with us yet.

Jesus goes to great lengths to talk about how important children are and how great God’s concern is for them. Again, this is not because they are always cute or innocent. We are these same children. But with God as our Father, his aim is that none should be lost.

Ponder:

Do you believe that you have been given something that cannot be led astray from the One who calls you home?

Pray:

Jesus, help me to stay with the 99, and to help You bring the lost one home.


Copyright 2018 Jay Cuasay

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Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on religion, interfaith relations, and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for examiner.com and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. Jay ministered to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish for 13 years. He can be reached at TribePlatypus.com.

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