The Great Search

First Reading: Philippians 3:3-8A

Brothers and sisters:
We are the circumcision,
we who worship through the Spirit of God,
who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh,
although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.

If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I.
Circumcised on the eighth day,
of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,
a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage,
in observance of the law a Pharisee,
in zeal I persecuted the Church,
in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.

But whatever gains I had,
these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.
More than that, I even consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (3b) Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
R. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”



The search was on. My husband and I were turning our house upside-down and inside out looking for an infant-sized hearing aid. When we found out our son was born with a hearing loss we knew that there would be challenges ahead. We did not know that one of our greatest challenges would be keeping track of those darned hearing aids

This was not the first time we had looked over at our son and noticed he was wearing only one hearing aid. With an exasperated sigh we’d strap him into his high chair so we could focus on our search. Then we’d tear up couch cushions, go through the trash, and get on our hands and knees with flashlights to peer under and behind every piece of furniture in the house. When we would finally discover it tucked inside a toy car or shoved under the refrigerator we would all but jump for joy.

Now whenever I read the different parables of people searching for something that is lost I think of what it was like to search for that lost hearing aid. Though we were overjoyed to find that expensive little piece of technology, it’s only a small fraction of the joy of the Lord when we repent and return to Him.

You see, we are all that one sheep that goes astray in today’s Gospel. We are all in need of His mercy. And He is so eager to give it. No matter how far you have wandered, and no matter how lost you may be, He is searching for you and longing to bring you back into His arms. But you must first let yourself be found by Him.

My dear sisters, what is causing you to wander? Is it a fear to fully trust Him, or a desire to maintain control? Is it, like Saint Paul in the First Reading, an attachment to status and worldly success? Whatever it may be that’s got a hold on your heart, throw it off! I think we all know by now that nothing will satisfy us like the love of Jesus. Like Saint Paul says, “I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

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Do an examination of conscience today and ask yourself, “How have I wandered?”

Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith.  Read more about her here.

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