Our first reading at Mass today reminds us that whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s chosen ones. This is echoed loudly in today’s Gospel in Jesus’ two parables, the first about the lost sheep which he finds and rejoices, the second about the woman who searches for her lost coin and finds it.
I am convinced that if we could only wrap our minds and hearts around what happens at baptism, we would not only better understand these parables, but more imporantly, our conversions would be complete.
In baptism, God enters into a relationship with us individually. This relationship is so intimate, so complete, so permanent, so filled with love and with grace that we really cannot comprehend it. God claims us as his own, and he never lets us go. The grace that is made available to us in our baptisms is incalculable. God’s intimacy with us is so total through the waters of baptism that if we were able to comprehend it, embrace it, apprehend it, I don’t think we would ever sin. The good that is ours by this baptism is so paramount that our human wills would always choose it, if we were able to allow ourselves to experience it consciously.
It is with this preface that we can understand why God would leave 99 sheep in the wilderness, exposed to threats and danger, to search for the lost one. We, as individuals, are that important to him.
Yes, we can reject this gift of grace, love and commitment from our God. But I don’t think anyone really would if they only could apprehend it. For that reason, I pray that more of us spend time meditating on the sacrament of baptism, and beseech God to give us a greater ability to embrace this sacrament’s fruits in our lives.