On the twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells the Pharisees that He would go to great lengths to bring each and every one of His lost sheep back home again:
“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?” -Luke 15:4, NAB
The Pharisees were criticizing Jesus for eating with sinners. They would not be caught sitting with such people because it would damage their own reputation. Jesus, however, did not care about His reputation, and His primary goal was to lead these sinners back home again.
Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ criticism with today’s verse. He tried to help them see it from His point-of-view. Jesus is not just a teacher or prophet – He is our shepherd who leads us, even after we stray.
Do you have a family member that has fallen on hard times? A parent, child, brother, or sister? Have they made mistakes and taken paths you don’t agree with? Have they chosen to live a sinful lifestyle? When we find ourselves in this situation, it can be hard to know what to do next.
We talk often about following the example of Christ, and in today’s verse, we see that the Shepherd will not abandon any of His sheep. To follow Christ, then, we must go to the same lengths to bring back those who have fallen away. Sometimes, this means going to extreme measures to make it happen.
We all know people that do not share the same passion and love for Christ as we do, but we cannot give up on them. Whether we succeed or not, we must continue to try. Our mission is to share the Gospel, and that mission begins in our own homes and families.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will not let even 1 out of 100 sheep stray away. He will not rest until we are all back home again. As part of the flock by His side, it is our job to help bring the lost sheep back again.