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“I Have Found My Lost Sheep.”

  • International
  • November 8, 2012
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The poet Dante called Luke, “the scribe of Christ’s compassion”, and in this chapter we are presented with three parables which eloquently describe God’s mercy towards sinners.

The parable of the Lost Sheep comes first. It’s a parable which is found in Matthew as well, but with a difference. In Matthew, Jesus chides his apostles about their care for the Church, about seeking out the lost sheep. Luke’s parable is not about seeking, but about the joy of finding.

The ‘good people’, the Pharisees, are scandalized that Jesus mixes about with sinners. They feel that since they are good, they must have a special place in God’s heart, naturally. Not so, says Jesus, “there’s greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine who do not need to repent.” Once again, the conventional wisdom is stood on its head.

Lest this saying disconcert us, and make us change our minds about being good, it is important to set the parable in perspective. The story of ‘the Lost Sheep’ is not a story of our misgivings; it is the story of God’s love. We tend to feel that when we are bad, or do wrong, nobody loves us. In fact society generally puts evil men and women into prison or punishes them. The idea is that God too is angry, and will punish such people.

But this is completely wrong!

All our wrongdoing does not drive God away from us. All the evil we do doesn’t make God angry and want to punish us. God loves us and always will, and he keeps reaching out to us until we turn and clasp his hand. Or in the metaphor of today’s Gospel, “ – he goes after the missing one until he has found it. How delighted he is, then! He calls his friends and says, “Rejoice with me! I have found my lost sheep!”

Men see someone and judge him or her from externals. God sees someone and loves them totally. God’s generous love is far, far greater than our guilty conscience. That’s the difference.
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