June 24, 2022
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lectionary: 172

Ezekiel 34:11-16
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Romans 5:5b-11
Luke 15:3-7

Praying Ordinary Time

The Jesuits and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Praying the Psalms

Today we see Jesus as the good shepherd, guiding us, caring for us, protecting us. Like in the Fr. Bob Dufford song, “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock and gathers the lambs in his arms, holding them carefully close to his heart, leading them home.” If I were singing Mass I would sing that.

Jesus cares for all his people like a shepherd cares for all his sheep. If even one would stray, he would search out and find that one. No one is left behind. He isn’t ignoring the rest, they are safe in the pasture, but the one who strayed is in danger now and needs the attention and needs the rescue. A shepherd with a big herd who found one of his sheep missing would search for that one sheep, even though he had 99 more, and rejoice at finding that lost sheep. It’s the shepherd’s job to keep track of the sheep and keep them safe. Even if the shepherd might not feel the loss of one sheep out of a hundred, what would happen to the sheep that went astray? It would be in danger, out of the protection of its community. The shepherd has a responsibility to protect all the flock. The shepherd who finds and regains the lost sheep not only feels joy at regaining his property that might be lost but also relief in knowing that the sheep is now safe with the others.

God rejoices in the return of one of his own who was thought to be lost but is returned. But it’s not only because God wants a bigger following, but because he realizes that we, like sheep, out of our community are lost and in danger. Returned to the fold we can be safe in his protection in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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