Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Le Bon Pasteur

"He told them this parable: 'What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."  Luke 15:3-7
 
Christ Jesus, our Lord, adds His sublime touch to this allegory: His diligent pursuit of the wandering sinner. Previously He told His disciples and the multitude of followers,  "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep." 

Here is an accumulation of moving emotions: concern for the lost sheep that strayed, compassion toward this young animal because it is weak; tender care by placing it upon his shoulders to carry it home; and the inexplicable joy when announcing the recovery of his precious animal.

This is an image of the very heart of God. He sent His Son to seek and save the lost, even if it be until that very hour. The Good Shepherd calls to those whom the Father has given to Him.
 
There is a divine rejoicing among the angels with God when we repent, more joy over one who repents, than many righteous people who think have no need for repentance. (AL)

"Christ is said to gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in His bosom, denoting His pity and tenderness towards poor sinners; here He is said to bear them upon His shoulders, denoting the power wherewith He supports and bears them up; those can never perish whom He carries upon His shoulders.  The pleasure that God takes in repenting returning sinners.
He lays it on his shoulders rejoicing that He has not lost His labour in seeking; and the joy is the greater because He began to be out of hope of finding it; and the shepherd calls his friends and neighbours, the shepherds that keep their flocks about him, saying, Rejoice with me.
 
Observe, He calls it His sheep, though a stray, a wandering sheep. He has a right to it (all souls are mine), and He will claim His own, therefore He looks after it Himself: I have found it; He did not send a servant, but His own Son, the Great and Good Shepherd, who will find what He seeks."

Brooklyn Museum



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