“You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don’t give them up. Don’t cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were His before they were yours — long before He entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as He loves them.” ~ Orson F. Whitney
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the gospels at Mass deal with images of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. We have heard that quite often in our lives. But, how willing are we to trust the Shepherd?
If He is going to be any good to us at all, we have to acquiesce to His care, to His words, to His gentle prodding. Remember, we have all been given free wills and can just as easily run away from our Shepherd as toward Him.
That, truly, is the predicament in which each soul finds itself: shall it trust God?
Inherently, we know that we need to trust God. However, the noise of the world, which can be quite loud and overwhelming, shouts at us not to trust God. The world tells us, “It’s a trap!” It warns us that, if we trust the Lord, we will lose our identity, we will lose our opportunity, we will lose our control.
However, it is only in losing ourselves in the Lord that we can ever hope to gain the strength that we need to face living in the world. While it may offer us many creature comforts, it cannot offer us salvation or eternal life.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He has our best in mind. He wants us to be safe and to have eternal joy with Him. We need to remember that Jesus has the best in mind for everyone, not just for some. Parents often worry about how their children have gone astray. In their worry, they fret and often try to cajole their children to “come back” to the practice of the faith.
We need to remember that we not only should commend ourselves to the care of the Good Shepherd but the care of our loved ones as well. The best we can do is to love them and to offer them encouragement. Browbeating often chases people away.
Trust that God not only has your best in mind but the best for your loved ones as well. Just keep loving, forgiving, inviting, and modeling the faith for others to see. Leave the rest up to God.
FAITH ACTION: Commit to the care of the Good Shepherd all those who are lost or who appear to be lost and ask God to give them the grace that they need to respond to His love.