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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Second Week of Advent - Tuesday: it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Readings: Isaiah 40: 1-11; Psalm 95; Matthew 18: 12-14

We grow up as Christians with many images of God (and Christ) that we find in the Gospels and the Epistles relating God to the Church. Some of the most common ones are: the corner stone to the edifice, the vine and its branches and many others. One image of God that people might forget is the one of the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd attends to his flock (as a shepherdess does to hers). The First reading starts by these very encouraging words:”Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.” The Gospel is concluded by words even more consoling”…it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” What marvellous words to listen to during Advent! It is consoling to know that our God loves us and takes care of us. So, we should not fear God. It would be sad to spend our lives living in fear of a God who created us out of love.


Countless people in the Church are afraid of God because they see themselves as nothing else but sinners. This mind-set influences every action they perform. They would spend their entire life seeing sin and punishment everywhere. But as they would not be able to avoid sinning – in my mother tongue Kinyarwanda it is said that a saint sins seven times in one day – they would spend their whole life in terror and self-hatred. They forget that the God who will judge them is also a caring God, full of gentleness towards God’s people, just as a shepherd cares about the flock. Are usually children terrified by the idea that their caring parents are going to punish them? The fear of punishment might even lead to deceit and thus to more sins.



It happens that non-Christians accuse Christians of not being happy people. They experience that terror displayed by some Christians and rightfully make their conclusions. This is because some Christians expect the king who is to come to be merciless. Today’s readings remind us that our King is a Good Shepherd and is different from others kings. “That imagery [of kingship] is meant to keep the human kings in check” (Schneiders, S. God is more than two men and a bird. US Catholic, May 1990. 20, 22-27. p. 23). Christ who is being born on Christmas is gentle and humble. He chose to be born among sinners because he knew they needed someone to help them live their lives with the joy of knowing that he understands their limitations. That is why he gave us the image of a gentle and caring shepherd, who goes to look for the stray sheep.

Today, let us pray that we may understand that God is Love and that our lives are not a difficult course created by God to test our fidelity. May Christ, our expected king, bring us that hope and happiness he used to give to all those who met him.

And as we celebrate St Nicholas today, I would like to wish a happy feast to our brother Nicholas Crowe OP. May he continue to be inspired by the humble and generous saint.

Gustave Ineza

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