Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
The Parable Is Incarnated
Herbert Marshall McLuhan is best remembered for the aphorism, “The medium is the message.” In our culture, communication is not limited to the message sent through a medium; the medium is already part of the message. Communication is not just “media”; it has become a “culture.”
Applying this thought to the Gospel, we can think of a parallel saying, “The messenger is the message.” And we can apply this to Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels present him as the “messenger,” and his message is the “Kingdom of God” that enters the lives of human beings with his presence. Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Sheep to teach us that in the Kingdom of God, every person is important. In Luke, it is one of the three parables of the “lost” addressing the complaint of the Pharisees and the scribes that Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. Heaven rejoices over just one sinner who repents (cf Lk 15:7). In Matthew, the parable is told to remind the believers to search for the lost among their members. It is not the will of the heavenly Father that one of the little ones be lost (cf Mt 18:14).
In the Gospel of John, the parable becomes reality. The story of the shepherd’s care for the sheep is incarnated in the person of Jesus himself. Jesus is, as it were, the parable. The messenger is also the message. The shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep becomes the Good Shepherd in John (cf Jn 10:11).
The Good Shepherd “lays down his life” for the sheep and “knows” the sheep. This implies a deep intimacy that unites Shepherd and sheep, an intimacy that speaks of readiness to offer one’s life for the other. Elsewhere, Jesus says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.