24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): The Good Shepherd Finds
(Adults, the Gospel for this Sunday includes all three lost and found parables. This reflection looks at only the first. Because the 3-6-year-old child is not yet in the moral stage of development, this reflection enjoys the BEST NEWS: Jesus finds his sheep!)
Luke 15:3-6 (full reading: Luke 15.1-32)
In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells us more about himself, the Good Shepherd. We already know that the Good Shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. We already know that the sheep follow him because they know his voice. The Good Shepherd takes such good care of his sheep, giving everything for them, even laying down his life. We think that he must love them.
But what happens if one of the sheep gets lost? What will the Good Shepherd do?
‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?'
What does the Good Shepherd do? He searches for the sheep. But how long will he search?
For an hour?
For a day?
For a week?
Does the Good Shepherd rest at night?
Does the Good Shepherd take a break for a snack??
Does he give up???
Nope, nope, nope.
He searches until.
What if it takes him fifty-three hundred, sixty-five thousand days to find the sheep?
Jesus says the Good Shepherd searches until he finds it.
And what does the Good Shepherd do when he finds that sheep?
When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.
He picks up that sheep and carries it on his shoulders. All the strength of the Good Shepherd given to the sheep. Their faces are right next to each other. What can the sheep see, with its head right beside his?
We hear that the Good Shepherd rejoices. He is so full of joy because he has found his sheep. They are together again. All is good.
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
The Good Shepherd is so filled with joy, he must rejoice with the others. He calls everyone together so they can all rejoice. We rejoice, too! Alleluia! All the sheep together with the Good Shepherd. The way it should be.