Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 12 December
God does not wish the little ones to be lost.
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us of the shepherd who searches for the lost sheep. “If he finds the sheep,” Jesus says, “it gives him more joy than the ninety-nine that did not stray at all.”
We often think this is speaking to those of us who stray from our faith. But it also reminds us of those who are literally lost and far from home.
When the shepherd realises one of his sheep is missing, he goes to find the lost sheep. In a similar way, we are called to go out and bring the love of God to our neighbours near and far.
We belong to one flock, one family. No one is an outsider to God. As Pope Francis says, “The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place, or disposable” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2015.)
How can we open the doors of our communities, to welcome our vulnerable sisters and brothers? Like the shepherd who rejoices in finding the sheep, how can we be enriched by our encounter?
Ryan Wilkinson, 19, recently travelled with CAFOD to meet refugees in Lebanon. This experience changed him deeply.
He said, “I have never felt so close to God as I did during my visit to Lebanon. Hearing different people’s stories and experiences in their faith really left me feeling inspired. I feel really blessed for receiving the opportunity to speak to the refugees.”
God our Shepherd, you call us to go out to neighbours who feel forgotten and ignored. Inspire us to look into the eyes of our sisters and brothers, so we may celebrate the rich diversity of all your people. Amen.
Join us in walking around the world! In 2018, parishes, schools and groups will be walking in solidarity with refugees and migrants. In total, we aim to walk 24,901 miles - the distance around the world - to send a clear message to world leaders that they too need to step up for the rights of people on the move. Pre-order materials now to get your parish involved.