2nd week of Advent, Tuesday – 10th December 2019 — Gospel: Mt 18,12-14
Personal care for the strayed sheep
In the parable of the wandering sheep, Jesus questions twice about things with which the disciples were familiar. He wanted them to think and not just listen. This parable appears in the Gospels of Matthew (18,12-14) and Luke (15,3-7) with slight variations. Matthew’s parable is given to Jesus’ disciples as community discourse, but the Luke’s is given to religious leaders, Pharisees and scribes. In Matthew the sheep strays and is devastated, but in Luke it is simply lost. More than the lost sheep, the strayed sheep needs to be brought back. Matthew’s version is pastoral in nature, for the owner of the sheepfold goes in search of the strayed one and after finding it, he is pleased with it. The parable focuses on the individual and personal care of the shepherd to the sheep. It doesn’t matter which sheep went astray, the shepherd would search for it. In the same way, heavenly father is also not willing to lose the little ones. Luke’s version is evangelical, for the owner returns home with the lost sheep and celebrates with the neighbourhood. This celebration also continues in heaven as a sign of repentance of one sinner. Matthean parable challenges us to get out of our comfort zones and our selfish ways of living. It calls to live our lives for the other by accepting our responsibility for them.