‘We found him, we found him, we found the sheep that was lost…”
so goes the song and today’s gospel reading of the lost sheep!
Sometimes we think the lost sheep was a bad sheep but if you ever observe animals you’ll notice that the animals that stray away from the others are often the weak ones who get pushed out!
I saw it with cows as I grew up as the stronger ones would literally chase the weak ones away.
Another example is in the schoolyard. The children that wander off on their own are the shy and sensitive ones who are often excluded from the group and even bullied.
So is it any wonder that the shepard goes after the lost one and why didn’t the other 99 notice the other one was lost….
Lost people feel unwanted and rejected, they don’t fit into conventional society. Often as they wander through life they go down different paths trying to find happiness.
The gay community is full of lost sheep! It’s like a meeting ground of the rejected and unloved.
The 99 sheep in the church have often continued grazing the grass and praying their rosaries and have’t even noticed the lost one!
Others condemn the lost one for straying away….
‘Why can’t you be like everybody else, why do you have to be so different and sensitive…we’ll take you back if you promise to become like us’
But the stray sheep can’t change, the stray sheep is different by nature and God made him that way!
God isn’t asking the lost sheep to change, He’s asking the other 99 to accept the lost sheep and to love him in his difference, to see him as a gift and not a burden and to defend him and protect him from bullies.
It’s so easy to bully the sensitive one, the one who is different but perhaps deep down the different one is a light to the world!
The different one shows that it’s ok to be original, it’s ok to be creative and that it’s ok to be oneself!
Many people will never be their true selves as they are afraid of what others will say. They are stuck in the group and behave like sheep who are not known for their intelligence!
It’s worth remembering that God has such a love for the stray sheep that He’ll risk the 99 so to speak and that God does not condemn the lost sheep for getting lost but rather maybe the 99 for losing him!
You all know a lost sheep, maybe today pick up that phone, say sorry, wipe their tears, heal their wounds and bring them to our loving heavenly father who made them.
What if it was you, if you were different from the group, if you were hypersensitive or if you were gay or lesbian or trans or whatever…
Allow Jesus to use you today to be an instrument of love, hope, mercy and healing to the lost sheep and don’t be afraid of what other people will say!
Finally, a powerful song for any lost sheep crying to find home!