What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? (Matthew 18:12)

An Advent Reflection on the Scripture Readings at Mass

Have you ever been lost? Maybe left behind in a store as a child? Lost on unfamiliar roads in a strange city? Hopelessly turned around in the woods? Separated from friends or loved ones in a huge crowd?

I enjoy walking and jogging on the roads and trails in my neighborhood. We have an abundance of wildlife attracted to our lake, streams, and the wooded areas that surround them. We have deer, coyotes, bobcat, turkeys, heron, hawks, and the occasional bear.

I am particularly fond of a large gaggle of turkeys who were bold enough to move around in the open at Thanksgiving! I ran into a few of them on a recent jog. You will notice in the photo that one of the four in this rafter stands a bit apart. I don’t know much about turkeys, but these four are almost always in this configuration, and it is this one that stands apart that keeps his eye trained on me. There’s no meaning to this but let your imagination run!

The next day, I noticed this particular bird all by himself, standing in the middle of the road. I had just driven by the other three who were enjoying the view of the lake from the top of the dam, about a quarter mile away from the lone turkey. The three seemed okay, but the lone bird was agitated… maybe lost? I don’t yet know where the three have gone, but the “lost” turkey has not moved from his present location and seems anxious, approaching people and cars as if to say, help!

Back to my first questions… I know we have all felt lost and alone. I imagine the turkey feels the same (turkeys are sociable birds).

Jesus speaks in today’s gospel about the shepherd going after the lost sheep — that one out of one-hundred who drifted away. He says something amazing and encouraging. Like the shepherd, God is in search of the men and women who are lost. When he finds you, there will be great joy in his eyes and warmth in his hug.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Image credit: Photography © Copyright by Michael Bickerstaff

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