Sheep are stupid. I am stupid. Therefore, I am a sheep.
A shepherd loves his sheep and takes care of his sheep...like really good care of his sheep. When a sheep strays from the flock and gets lost - the shepherd finds it, breaks its legs, and carries it on his shoulders until it truly hears and knows the masters voice. Then, when the legs are healed, the sheep for sure knows the voice of the master. Shepherds know that sheep stray when they listen to the wrong thing or the wrong voice, but after the breaking and mending process, the sheep should know the shepherds voice and never stray again.
In the Parable of the Good Shepherd, Jesus was speaking to the tax collectors, the sinners, the prostitutes, the lost and the list could go on and on. He knows that they have been listening to the wrong voices. Another parable Jesus throws out on them is the Prodigal Son (the lost son). I feel like we FOREVER hear this parable in mass, in talks, from priest friends, from the super Catholic old lady in the beauty parlor... and every single time I hear it I do not get it!
So this man has two sons, one sucks and takes all of the money his father gave him and blows it on a life of sin. Then, you have the other son who is great - he stays with his father, he's obedient and he doesn't sin. Okay, great. So the sinful son is running rampart and the Father "caught sight" of the lost son one day. He caught sight of him...which means he had been searching for his son the whole time. With eyes of compassion he ran to his son and embraced him. The son knew he had really messed up this time and hoped he could at least become a servant for his father just to get some food. The son says, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you, I no longer deserve to be called your son." Now I'm thinking, yes, you're right - you don't deserve it - you do deserve to become your fathers slave because you blew it. The other son is great and you stink, it is only logical that the father would at least make you a slave and praise the other son for not leaving. But this is not the Gospel according to Breana. So the story goes on and the father throws a huge party for the son that literally just threw everything away. The father rejoices that his son has been found. Now, the other son sees this and is angry - which I totally get - I'm angry too, I'm on his side! "Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders" and you've never thrown a party for me. But this son who spent ALL of your money for selfish reasons gets a party? Then the father (in all his great wisdom) says, "my son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours." Okay, now I'm feeling a little less on edge because the good son is getting the inheritance he deserves. Then the Father says, "we must celebrate and rejoice because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found."
Oh, so now I get parables.
They are not some annoying Shakespearean thing where Jesus talks in circles not just getting to the point. Though like in Shakespearean poems, you do have to look beneath the surface of it.
For one, Jesus is telling this story to the tax collectors and sinners. Two, it is about God the Father (duh, Breana).
Three, we are all the stupid son.
Four, of course the Father is looking for the lost son just like the Good Shepherd looks for the list sheep.
Five, praise the Lord the Father looks at us with compassion when we go back to him after blowing every good and perfect thing he has given us away on worldly nonsense.
Six, thank God He takes us into his loving embrace.
Seven, good thing he tells the good son why this is all happening and that he already has everything the Father has.
We are restless without the Father, just like the lost son and we feel inadequate because of our shame of blowing our inheritance on sin, but in Jesus' great mercy we are FOUND. Like the lost sheep, the shepherd finds us, breaks us, and carries us. We can rest in the fact that Jesus is tirelessly looking for us. He has a feast prepared for you and he is ready for you to come home. He is MERCIFUL.
Thank you Jesus for your mercy.
Your stupid stupid sheep