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Monday, July 8, 2013

The Compassion of the Shepherd

"At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd."

Jesus seems always able to summon mercy and understanding when meeting the poor and broken.  Somehow he sees those most in need with compassionate eyes and heart, and responds to them without judgement. While Jesus can be hard on those who should know better, he seems never to dismiss the struggling. In fact, the scripture tells us that he sees them as sheep without a shepherd.

Sheep are naturally communal and always anxious to hear the voice of the shepherd calling and leading them to places where they can graze and find safety at night. Without shepherds, sheep can easily become disoriented and wander from the flock, and when they do they are easy prey for predators. Jesus knows this and promises us if  we accept his guidance that he will feed us with bread that lasts for ever and lead us to streams that will always run free.

Jesus' mercy can easily be taken advantage of, but only those trying to control the world worry about this. While some will surely risk living an unfocused life thinking they have nothing about which to worry since Jesus promises undying love to all even the biggest sinner, Jesus continually seeks out sinners, inviting them to reconciliation and new life.

As C.S. Lewis reminds us in An Examined Life, "God was the hunter and I was the deer. He stalked me, . . . took unerring aim and fired,"(1). Captured by God's love, we find ourselves spending more time being grateful than worrying about our past faults, and discover, to our delight and God's, that we have very little time for wrong doing and sin. Filled with gratitude for all that God is and does, our joyful and free spirits shout Good News.

Today, ask forgiveness of God and move forward.

Which of your faults and sins do you find most difficult to avoid?

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