"If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one?" - Matthew 18:12
Jesus tells the Parable of the Lost Sheep to help us understand how precious we are to God: How the Good Shepherd cannot bear to lose even one beloved to predators, thieves, lousy judgment, a poor sense of direction, or plain bad luck. How, regardless of how many happy sheep are safe in God's heart, He will not rest until every single one is accounted for. How heaven rejoices when the lost one is found! The parable also speaks to the power of one: How we can save ourselves and change the world by loving each other to the ends of the earth, one person at a time. To mere sheep like us, this approach might seem impossible. But this is the way of love and hope, relationship and wisdom, and blessed are those who follow it. When we focus on the magnitude of suffering and need in the world, we are easily overwhelmed. We are tempted to conclude that there is nothing we can do. But we can start with one—one person, one problem, one need. It sounds slow and hard. When we give of ourselves to serve even one, powerful new communities of love are created. Walls of division crumble and fall. What was unimaginable becomes routine. Duty becomes a joy. Our sense of "church" explodes. The "system" is not changed right away, but we are transformed.
Prayer: Good Shepherd, may I have your heart for the one. And when I am the one, may I let your love find me. Amen