31st Week, Thursday, Nov 5

 Philippians 3:3-8 / Luke 15:1-10 

I seek only Christ: All else counts as nothing.

 Years ago, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about a teenager named Bill Martin. It told about Bill's desire to become a professional tennis star. It said: "He's carried on a love affair with the game since, as an eight-year-old beginner, he would stroke shots eight hours a day at River Forest Tennis Club." Martin said that as a seventh and eighth grader he became a stranger and an outcast with the other kids his age. His rigorous schedule didn't allow him any time with them. It still keeps him a very lonely person. Bill concluded, saying, 'The loneliness—it's just part of the sacrifice." It's this kind of dedication that Paul talks about in today's reading.


How dedicated to Christ and his work are we? "Alas for those who never sing, but die with their music within them." Oliver Wendell Holmes


As a Jew, Paul could be proud of many things: born as a member of the chosen people and circumcised; as a Pharisee, secure in the strict observance of the Law... Yet all these had proven to be not advantages but obstacles to encountering Christ: instead, they had made him a persecutor of Christ; the Law had made him a prisoner of the Law rather than a servant of God. And now he is happy that, by the grace of God, he has discovered the foolishness of the cross. God has found him; Christ has become his riches, and all the rest doesn’t matter.


Quite often we misplace things. Not just anything but things that we need to use, things that have some kind of sentimental value to us, things that might not belong to us even. As much as we are careful to keep those things, there are times when out of careless or forgetfulness or distraction that we misplace those things. And when we realize that they are missing, we embark on a frantic search for those things. A good example would be the keys or the wallet.
When those kinds of things are lost, we will feel the anxiety that our security is at risk. In the gospel, Jesus told a parable of a search - a search for a lost sheep and a search for a lost coin. We may think that the parable may not make much sense as we would measure the worth of one sheep over ninety-nine sheep and one coin over nine coins.

But Jesus wants to point out to us that that is how God feels when one of His children is lost. God feels that urgency of an immediate all-out search. But the search can only take place when we are willing to be sent out for the search. But if we don't feel that anxiety or urgency, then nothing will be found.

Yet we must also remember that when we get lost in the jungle of life, we would also wish that someone would care enough to come and look for us and give us back some hope. Let us feel the anxiety and urgency of those who are lost in life. In looking for them and helping them, we will also find our way to God.


Let us Pray:  Lord our God, we know that Jesus came for everybody, yet he wanted to find back the very one given up by people: the tax collector, the sinner, the prodigal. Do not allow us in our zeal for what is right and good to lose sight of this one person who was written off by people, yet who merited the special concern of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.