When I was first ordained a priest, I remember my aunt making a very simple request of me. She said, “Go easy on us, Father. Life is hard.” Like many quotes that seem simple at the time, it was only after having been involved in parochial ministry for a while that I realized the deep truths of what my aunt is asking. Life is hard.
People die. People get sick. The world can be a violent place. Too many people in our world to not even have the basic necessities of life. Moreover, we also worry about our children, become stressed over our jobs, find it difficult to balance the multitude of demands that are present in our lives, and perhaps most of all, seek to discover what all of this activity, all of the sadness, and all of the struggling really means.
So just as yesterday as we focused on the question of dryness, today our attention is drawn to the God who provides comfort. It is a gentle reminder to us that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. Rather then remind us that we simply do not measure up, Jesus comes to provide us the deep comfort that only he can give.
Today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah, reminds us that while there are many things that do not last, God’s word, and God’s love, are not among them. They last. and the arrival of our God is not simply a weak moment where we might have to guess about the plan and purpose of God. Rather this coming of God will be known to all. For God comes with power, but the type of power where we know we are safe because we have a Savior.
The Gospel reading is that tender reminder that God always seeks us out when we are lost. This gospel is always about the one lost sheep. And when each one of us reads this gospel and hears these words of Jesus, we are once again reminded that we are the lost sheep. But it is not that we wander off and become lost without hope. Jesus is our hope. Christ is our hope. The confidence that we are called to have his well-placed. This is because we are called to be confident in God’s love for us, not doubting but believing.
And so, we’re called on this day, to turn our attention to that life-giving eternal relationship with God. That in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle of our lives, we are challenged to remember God. We are challenged to turn those areas of our lives over, those areas which produce stress, because we find ourselves relying too much on our own efforts. We are challenged to remember the God who provides comfort, because this God seeks us out always whenever we are lost.