July 8, 2020
Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:7)
The words above from Matthew’s gospel were a part of Jesus’ marching orders to the twelve apostles.
As we read scripture, we should keep in mind that whenever Jesus speaks to the apostles, He is speaking to us as well. We are an apostolic Church, which means that just like the apostles, we are sent out to spread the gospel message.
We do that with not only our words, but in the the way we interact with other people, by how we engage with the world.
With the onset of the pandemic, never has there been so many lost sheep. People have not been able to go to their home parish to celebrate Mass and pray communally. They have been isolated at home. Many have watched live-streamed services; however, many others have disengaged with their church and unfortunately, their faith.
Their original intent was to “just start back up once the churches are open,” but as time has passed, they have become comfortable with “taking Sunday off” and their faith wanes – they are lost sheep.
As apostles we are called to bring Christ to these lost sheep. We need to let them see our joy and let them hear our stories of how God continues to be present in our lives. We should invite them to participate in live-steamed services or prayer opportunities, and invite back to Mass as the churches slowly open back up. Make a phone call, deliver a hand-written note, send an email — use whatever means necessary to let the lost sheep know that they are loved, valued, and not alone. All are welcome in God’s kingdom on earth.
Stay connected to the lost sheep so they have the opportunity to stay connected to their faith.