In today’s liturgy, we think about sheep and shepherds. At the end of today’s first reading from Isaiah 40 we read: “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock. In his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 18, Jesus tells the story of a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep in the hills to go and search for the one who has gone astray. We know, of course, that we are the sheep and that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Many of us today, though, can’t really relate to the analogy of shepherds and sheep. Let me share a thought.
The relationship between shepherds and their sheep is very much like our own family relationships – that of parents and children. As parents, we watch over our children. We feed them, protect them and hopefully lead along a safe path. That’s why this is such a perfect analogy. God is not just a guy watching over a bunch of animals to earn a living. He is a gentle Father, who watches over us, leads us, feeds us, guides us and protects us. May we always heed the sound of His voice.
Father, you know how easily we go astray. Keep us always in your loving care. Amen.