For the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus the Mass readings our centered around Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The Gospel reading is the parable of the lost sheep. I find this parable as being one of the most beautiful in scripture and one that I readily identify with. Today at Mass our priest during the homily highlighted the fact that in the parable Jesus as the Good Shepherd would have gone out in the darkness to look for and to find that lost sheep. Because the sheep had not listened to or followed the shepherds voice it went off on it’s own and separated itself from the shepherd. The sheep was lost in the darkness through its own fault yet when the sheep was found no recrimination or scolding ensued but only the simple lifting up and being placed on Jesus’ shoulders and returned to the flock.
We should never be afraid to run back to Jesus even though our sins be black. As Jesus lifted up the sheep he will lift us up to himself and temper his justice with the mercy that we don’t deserve. When we separate ourselves from Jesus we are truly lost. We mistakenly believe that we can wander off on our own and that any sustenance we find along the way is due only to our own efforts. Even those of us who were once lost and then returned to the flock we must be cautious that we do not become lost again. The sheep who both heard and obeyed the shepherds voice did not become lost. As believers we must daily evaluate ourselves to ensure that we still hear and obey the Good Shepherd’s voice through his Church.