I have always loved the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I imagine Him leading me by the hand to those green pastures and still waters. I’m free from any kind of worry, as daisies bloom and the breeze blows in my hair.
So yeah, Jesus is the Shepherd, but I realized that I never thought of myself as the stupid sheep.
While I was focused on Psalm 23, which sings of God’s providence, the other side of the story is Matthew 18:12-13. Basically, sheep go astray. Sheep go gallivanting around, searching for who-knows-what, away from where there is protection, food, and love.
I am such a sheep. I am so weak.
Yet, I am at peace, because I know Jesus will risk everything to save me, because He rejoices over me the most. Because Jesus came for those who needed to be saved: the tax collectors, the lepers, the guilty thief crucified next to Him. Jesus feels His heart turn in His chest when we tear up and apologize. Jesus cannot deny us mercy–He loves us too much.
Sometimes I pressure myself, expecting myself to already be the perfect, upstanding Catholic woman that I want to become. But that is nothing but the enemy playing on my pride, telling me that my salvation depends on me, and that I don’t need Christ.
We cannot belittle our beautiful cry for mercy. So, if we embrace our sheephood, we trust our Shepherd. We aren’t discouraged when we stray, just more convinced that we need Him, and more merciful towards each other. In this way, God brings His glory even from our faults.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Saint Paul sums it up most nicely (as he tends to do): “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
So I’ll continue to love this image of Jesus, even if it means that the breeze blows in my wool.Tags » Good Shepherd, mercy, Psalm 23