“Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays: will he not leave the 99 on the hillside and go in search of the stray?”. This sentence from today’s gospel really stuck in my mind. It is a challenge to us – God would go after the stray but would we? What would we do? Would we give up our family and friends in order to serve others, even strangers? Would we do small things with great love?
It is something we tried to do today as we helped paint the the homeless shelter. As we redecorated the residents’ rooms and chatted to them, we were seeking to help them on a level which is deeper than a fresh coat of paint – to reach out to the men in their loneliness. Having left the comfort of our own homes to help on this project, there is a sense of leaving the flock to help those who have got lost on the way. For God, it doesn’t matter where we come from, where we are living or if we have a house or job. God does not turn his back on any of his children, therefore neither should we. In working alongside these men who are trying to escape addiction and homelessness, the most important thing is to recognise that regardless of their background, they still have dignity as human beings and it is up to us to uphold that in them.
During mass, the priest told us: “having peace in our hearts isn’t something but someone”. In the afternoon we went to an evangelical Christian cafe and heard the testimony of a local young man who had given up a shining football career for the sake of his faith. He described his difficulty growing up in a world which doesn’t always appreciate faith and how in remaining true to the sense of Christ in his heart he had found a lasting peace and freedom. We all are searching for those things, we all are yearning for God’s presence and through our work with MAGIS, it is something which we are beginning to discover. During our work at the shelter and our time together, we not only feel a profound joy but ate beginning to guide and strengthen one another in our own spiritual way.