The First Reading is recorded in Ezekiel 34:11-24. This is a wonderful passage of comfort and hope to a people who have just experienced the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple. They were feeling hopeless and helpless. In this passage the prophet Ezekiel proclaims the Lord’s words that He will rescue and restore His people like a shepherd does a scattered flock. The Lord fulfilled His promise, and His people were restored. This is a word of comfort for us as well: The Lord seeks us and brings us back to Himself through His Son Jesus.
Holy Shepherd, we give You thanks and praise that You seek Your lost ones and restore us to Yourself. Keep us firm in Jesus, and when we stray, restore us through repentance and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
The psalm is a section of Psalm 119, vs. 169-176. Notice again how the Lord seeks and restores those of His who have gone astray. Let us cry out to the Lord when we wander away, and then give Him thanks and praise for bringing us back to Himself.
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word, and forgive and restore us in Jesus when we stray. Let us always look to and trust in Your faithfulness. Amen.
The Second Reading begins a section of readings from 1 Timothy; this reading being 1 Timothy 1:5-17. Notice how the apostle Paul is able to honestly confront his past sinfulness and persecution of the disciples of Jesus: Jesus gave Paul mercy, and brought Paul to Himself. Paul says he was the worst of sinners, and if Jesus can give him mercy, then everyone can be given mercy in Christ. Let us rely on Jesus’ mercy.
Merciful Lord Jesus, we rejoice that you extended mercy to Saul of Tarsus, and he became the apostle Paul. May we also realize Your mercy in our lives, and let us be merciful to others, as you have been merciful to us, so that they can see You and be drawn to You in faith. Amen.
The Gospel is Luke 15:1-10. Notice the words: lost, seek, find, in this passage. Notice that something is lost: a sheep, a coin, and that the one who lost the item sought after it until it was found and restored, and the joy was shared. We, like a lost sheep or coin, have been separated from the Lord by sin, but in Jesus we have been found and restored. Let us daily repent of the ways we get lost from Jesus, and let us give thanks that He seeks and finds us.
Lord God, we are sorry that we have been separated from You, sometimes inadvertently, and sometimes we turn from You. Seek us when we are lost, restore us in Jesus, and let there be great rejoicing! And Lord, send us out as Your ambassadors to seek the lost and restore them to You. And let there be great rejoicing! Amen.