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Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Deut. 31:1-8 & Mt. 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

There is a certain sadness about today's first reading. Moses had been the great hero of His people. He had resisted Pharaoh to his face, demanding the release of the people in the name of God. He had led them out of slavery from Egypt. In the desert through him God made a covenant with the people. He had endured the rebellion of the people and had interceded for them with God.

Now, with death approaching, he knew that it was not to be his joy to lead the people into the Promised Land. That privilege was to fall to Joshua. Moses needed profound humility to accept the plan of God was best, although not in accord with his own preference. It did worry him to think that he was not the greatest person among God's people. Like a little child he was docile to God's will.

In the Church, God has a plan for each one of us. At times we may wish that we could have a different vocation, perhaps one more in the limelight or, in contrast, one less demanding. But it is God's choice that counts. Even the Pope must accept his exalted position with a childlike docility to God's will, not with ambition to be the most important person in God's kingdom. Think about Pope John Paul I who was pope for only 33 days, with no opportunity to lead the Church forward. But for His own good reasons this was God's choice. Who we are, and what we do in life, is God's choice, His plan. It is that choice which makes everything worthwhile. Being open to God's plan is always in our best spiritual interests!

The love of God is quite personal, to the point that God will leave 99 others just to search for the missing one. Being human we tend to ignore one single sheep, which we view as expendable, sacrificing it for the greater majority. But God's plan is different: He wants to save each one of us. That is why He was willing to allow His Son Jesus to die on the Cross to atone for the sins which each one of us has committed.

It was a personal kind of love that Jesus Christ wanted to demonstrate to us. Just think if you were that one lost sheep what a great joy you would experience, what a special feeling you would have and want to cherish, when you realised that the Lord Jesus had gone to great lengths, through great inconveniences, just for you.

How fortunate we are that our God is a personal God, a personal Father Who does not treat His children by preference and importance. He regards each one of us as His only child deserving of all His love.

Heavenly Father, make us aware of the personal love You and Your Son have for each one of us, that we may live our lives worthy of that love You have for us.

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