The Gospel Today
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”
Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong):
Tomorrow’s Gospel is one of the most familiar parables of Jesus. It is considered as one of the “Lost Parables” together with The Parable of the Lost Son and The Parable of the Lost Coin. And some also considered the lost sheep as the “black sheep”, the one who went astray. That is why, especially in our culture, we also label a family member who is different, who is considered the “rebel”, the one who doesn’t finish school, among others, as the “black sheep”.
Middle of last month, one of my brothers was hospitalized because according to the initial findings, he has a stage 2 cancer when the doctors found three mass growths in his larynx. Three days after, he had to undergo a procedure to remove the mass growths, but the surgeons were only able to take two because the other one was already growing attached to the walls of the larynx and it is very risky to remove it. Because of that, the doctors informed our family that there was a 90% possibility of stage 3 cancer. However, in order to confirm it, a biopsy had to be undertaken. The doctors warned us that if the biopsy would reveal that the mass growth is negative of the cancer cells, the remaining mass growth could just be treated through “cobalt”. But if it turns out positive, accordingly, my brother’s larynx will be totally removed, leaving my brother unable to speak for the rest of his life and a tube has to be inserted through his esophagus for him to breathe. Of course that information was a real shocker to the family.
We turned to God in prayers, even asking prayers from a lot of people and communities. And lo and behold when the result came out, it was negative and my brother didn’t even have to undergo the cobalt procedure. All he needs is a change in lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle. Everyone was so relieved and was overwhelmingly happy and thanked the Lord for this we considered “a little miracle”. And more importantly we were very happy for our brother who was given a new lease in life. Furthermore, the three weeks experience of anxiety, fear and hopelessness turned out to be an opportunity because God became very alive in the family and made our family more united, stronger and closer to each other. It was also during this time, that we really showed our love and support to this brother of ours and we know that he appreciated it too.
Why am I sharing this story? Well, some people labeled my brother as the “black sheep” of the family because he is the more aggressive, the one who has vices, that include drinking and smoking and who did not finish school. But this brother of ours, is a very caring and loving brother, husband and father to his son. Thus, instead of just blaming him of his predicament and let him suffer the consequence of his own actions, we stood by him. That despite of our respective personal concerns, we all left them behind and attended to and were there for our brother in his trying times. For no matter how people see him, a “black sheep” of the family or not, no matter who he is, he will always be our brother and we will never leave or abandon him in any circumstance.