REFLECTION FOR TODAY
November 4, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” Lk. 15:4-6
Home coming is always a sweet experience. For those who have left home for a mission or the military. Coming back home is always a thing of joy. Our gospel reference today forms Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep or the Good Shepherd. The number One hundred refers to the perfection of the Kingdom of God, while the one lost sheep represents all of humanity as we make our way through this life. Jesus is the Shepherd Whose attention turns to fallen humanity on a diligent search for us to carry us home.
The Shepherd did not wait for the sheep to come back but went out in search of the Sheep. He left the ninety-nine to search for the lost one . The Shepherd did not search for the lost sheep out of anger but out of concern and love. Understanding this is essential if we are to have a correct understanding of how Jesus sees us when we stray.
We must see His deep concern, His diligence in searching, and His unwavering commitment to find us in our straying condition. He is not a God Who sits back in judgment and anger but a God Who came to us, took on our fallen human nature, and endured all suffering to find us and bring us home.
On finding the lost Sheep, the Shepherd places her on His shoulders and carries her home. Oftentimes, we can fall into the trap of thinking that we must make our way back to God by our own effort. But the truth is that God is always there, waiting to pick us up and carry us home. Our duty is to surrender to His merciful hands and to stop running. This is done by turning to Him and allowing Him to come to us and minister to us. The primary effort is on the part of our Lord once we surrender ourselves into His gentle Hands.
There was great rejoicing on the part of the Shepherd on getting home. We also will rejoice at being picked up and carried home to the perfection of God’s Kingdom, but our rejoicing is done in response to the joy of our Lord. It is His joy we are invited to share in. It is His heart that is filled with gratitude as we allow Him to tenderly carry us home. “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep,” says the Shepherd.
Reflect, today, upon this holy image of the Good Shepherd. As you ponder this parable and imagery, be attentive to the various thoughts, memories, emotions, and fears that are evoked within you. As Christians, we are all different, and our Lord deeply desires to come to each one of us right where we are, during our sins. Pondering the compassion of this Good Shepherd will open the door for our Lord to speak to you and to invite you personally to come to Him, turning away from the ways that you personally have strayed. Do not run away. Remain in confidence as He comes to you. Listen to His voice and say “Yes” to Him as He lifts you up to carry you home.
Lord Jesus, You are the Good Shepherd, who did not wait for me to come back to you, but in mercy and love sought me out. You love me and search for me with diligence and fidelity. May I trust You enough to stop running from You and hiding from Your gentle voice. Please come to me, pick me up, place me on Your shoulders and carry me home. Jesus, I trust in You.