March 23, 2019
by Angela Maynard
Creighton University's Student Health Services
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 235

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalms 103: 1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

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The image of Christ as the good shepherd has always provided me comfort.  Growing up, we spent many Sundays traveling an hour to visit a great aunt and uncle. They had a picture of the Jesus holding a lamb close to him.  I spent a lot of time looking at that picture during those visits.  I was drawn to it.

When preparing for Christmas, one of my favorite things about setting up the nativity in my home (and I have several scattered throughout the house, and in my office) is arranging the shepherds, and their sheep.  Isn’t it ironic that there were so many sheep at the birth of OUR shepherd?

LambyMy youngest was born the week before Easter, and was given a stuffed lamb when he was born.  “Lamby” has gone everywhere with my now 16 year old.  Lamby has provided comfort and protection during times of fear, or illness.  Lamby is tattered and worn.  His legs have been stitched, and he’s survived many trips through the washer and dryer. He spent many days in the backpack of a little boy who was afraid to leave Mom to go to preschool.  He went to surgery with a little boy who was suffering from appendicitis.  Even, today as I write this Lamby is not far from that 16 year old who is fighting the stomach flu.

Today’s first reading was special.  Micah writes of people being shepherded and a god who delights in clemency, not anger.  This reading precedes the gospel that tells the popular parable of the prodigal son.  A man gives his estate to his two sons.  One of the sons leaves, and squanders his inheritance.  He runs out of money, and falls on very hard times.  He realizes that his father’s servants are likely living in better conditions than what he has.   He decides to return to his father.  Despite his actions, his father welcomes him with open arms, and has a celebration to welcome him.  This is a story of unconditional love. 

Isn’t that what the image of the good shepherd is all about?  The gospel teaches us to love one another no matter what.  Jesus shows us how to do this throughout the gospels.  Jesus is not only shepherding us through life, always by our side, but loves us no matter what.  If we stray off course, we can look to Jesus for guidance and forgiveness. No matter how worn, torn, or tattered we become Jesus will always be by our side.  Lamby is worn but still loved. Conversely, no matter how sick or injured my little guy was, Lamby never left his side.  He provided comfort…and still does! 

Take some time today to think about times when you felt worn, torn or tattered, and reflect on how Jesus was present during those times.  Did you realize He was present at the time?  Did you pray for him to reveal his presence?  Do you now understand his eternal presence?

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