There is an unexpected, and quite pleasing, benefit that suddenly comes to us from hearing Gospel stories over and over. It happened to me today with the story of the shepherd’s joy at finding a lost sheep.
I always picture that lost sheep as somebody who has strayed away, putting in years of seeking happiness in the wrong places. Jesus used the image of the shepherd cuddling the lost one on his shoulder to convey his joy over finding one such lost one.
What caught my attention, and delighted me today, was what Jesus went on to say: “.”It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little one be lost.”
While I had been picturing the lost soul as an old sinner, to the Father that soul is still just one of his little ones.
That connects with an illusion shared by all of us who have left middle age behind us. In our hearts we are still the young ones who were getting a start in life. And that is not a bad idea. Jesus said we must, “turn and become like little children.”
William Wordsworth had a fine little poem about the advantages in remaining in touch with our childhood.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
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