The relationship we have with Jesus is wonderfully described in calling him "the Good Shepherd.” Jesus guards, guides, protects and watches over us, just as a human shepherd cares for his flock. The image of Christ bearing a lamb on his shoulders is one of the earliest depictions of his love for us.
The Good Shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in the flock to save the lost one. When he finds the lamb wandering in the mountains, he does not exhaust it by driving it ahead of himself. Instead, he lifts it to his shoulders and, mercifully, restores it to safety.
Then he instructs us to be like our heavenly Father—holy, perfect and merciful.
In proclaiming the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis called it an opportunity “to experience strongly within ourselves the joy of having been found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd who has come in search of us because we were lost.” It is a year, he noted, “in which to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by his mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy.”
Our prayer today: We thank you, Jesus, that in your boundless mercy you embrace our lost souls and carry us to redemption.
(Early Christian image of Christ as the Good Shepherd)