Our family recently took a trip to visit family members that live several states away. Part of this trip involved overnights with friends as we slowly made our way up the coast. Our friends have children of varying ages, ranging … Continue reading
When I used to hear the parable of the lost sheep in the Gospel, I always thought I was missing something. I mean, what kind of shepherd is going to leave 99 sheep just to find the stupid one that got itself lost? I thought I didn’t understand something about first century Palestinian shepherds, like maybe they’d get fired for losing one sheep, so it was worth leaving the other sheep to go find the missing one so that the shepherds could hopefully keep their job. Or maybe shepherds always worked in pairs, so while one shepherd went looking for the lost sheep, Jesus’ listeners could assume the other one was watching the rest of the flock. Otherwise, abandoning 99 sheep to find one lost one just doesn’t seem logical. It doesn’t make sense. It’s stupid.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned that Jesus meant for the shepherd to sound stupid. Only a crazy shepherd would have abandoned the rest of his flock to find one lost sheep. The shepherd in the parable really is stupid. Jesus’ listeners would have known that the shepherd’s response was unreasonable. So what was Jesus getting at when He seems to be comparing Himself to the crazy, stupid shepherd?
Jesus is talking about the crazy, “stupid” love of God. God’s love for us is unreasonable. He loves us even when we are still sinners. He loves us even though we are unlovable. He loves us like the crazy shepherd loves his stupid sheep. And we can be pretty dumb.
God’s love is illogical. You do not abandon 99 sheep for the sake of one. That makes no sense. But God’s logic is not like ours. He will always go after the one. He will always seek out the lost and bring them home. The value of one life is endless. The love He has for each one of us is inexhaustible. One sheep is worth the same as 99 because their worth is infinite in the eyes of the Father. And one infinity is the same as ninety-nine. We are loved by an infinite God who can only love us with an infinite love, the kind of love that drives a shepherd to search out the lost sheep, a father to run out and embrace his prodigal son, God Himself to become man and die so that sinners might be offered the gift of eternal life. That is the crazy, “stupid” love of God.
When Jesus shared the parable of the shepherd and his lost sheep, He was looking to shock His listeners. He wanted them to stop and think about His words. He wanted them to pause and wonder, Did I hear that right? And they did. The shepherd’s decision was supposed to sound stupid. That’s what Jesus intended. The love of the Father for His wayward children is shocking. He loves when it doesn’t make sense to love. He loves those who don’t seem like they deserve to be loved. He loves those who abandon Him, those who are lost. That’s what Jesus came to show us- the crazy, “stupid” love of God.
If you had told me that I was going to be a homeschooling mom ten years ago, I probably would have laughed at you. I didn’t know any homeschoolers growing up, and for some reason, I bought into the whole … Continue reading
My kids are awful at playing hide-and-seek. My toddler daughter likes to count with her splayed fingers over her face. My preschool son likes to laugh maniacally while I pretend to look for him, and he usually hides in the … Continue reading
I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. I was a straight-A student, and I cried the first time I got a B+ in a class. My notebooks and folders were all pristine, my locker always perfectly organized, my bedroom … Continue reading
Do you remember how old you were when you chose to assume your family’s faith as your own? I was a Junior in high school. My husband was in college when he experienced his “re-version” (a conversion-like experience for those … Continue reading
I started to take my faith seriously in high school. Along for the ride with some young women I admired, I did everything they did- including attend all sorts of retreats, Catholic conferences, and Christian clubs, like the school chastity … Continue reading
Why do we have such a hard time letting ourselves believe in miracles? Why do we scoff when we hear an account of the seemingly impossible? Why do we stop believing those that we usually trust as truthful when they … Continue reading
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt rejected upon walking into a church. Sure, people continue to stare when I show up for daily Mass, but I know why. It’s not because they don’t want me there, but because … Continue reading
A few days ago the Gospel reading at daily Mass was the account of the woman with hemorrhages (you can read the entire passage here– it’s verses 25 to 34). According to the version found in Mark, which provides a … Continue reading