On Jesus’ Shoulders

Jesus’ Parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15:1-7, from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Daily Bible Readings, November 5, 2020 of the Thirty-first Week of Ordinary Time

The Good Shepherd, 3rd century A.D.,Christian Catacomb, Wikipedia Commons, Public Domain

When he (the shepherd) has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. Luke 15:5, NRSV

When a team wins a big game, the players douse the coach with Gator Aid and then lift him on their shoulders as they parade to the locker room to celebrate the victory with even more joy.

When Jesus told His Parable of the Lost Sheep, there was a moment of joy when the shepherd finally found that one lost sheep. He lifted his sheep onto his shoulders and safely carried it back to the fold all the time rejoicing in the lost being found.

Upon arriving back to the 99 sheep in his herd, the shepherd threw an unexpected party for friends and neighbors to continue the celebration. He shouted with glee to the invited crowd, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.

Now, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, gives us a glimpse of heavenly joy when a sinner repents and returns to the Lord. The whole heavenly court of angels gathers to rejoice with their Lord.

The good news in Jesus’ parable is that He never gives up on us no matter how far we stray from him. With His abounding love, Jesus searches for us, finds us, and brings us back into the faithful’s fold.

When Jesus finds us in the darkness of our waywardness, He lifts us onto His shoulders and rejoices because the lost has been found. Jesus forgives us, enfolds us with His grace, and gives us the promised Holy Spirit to start life over again with spiritual freshness and wholeness for our souls.

Resting on Jesus’ shoulders is the ultimate moment of joy and celebration for Him…and for us.

We pray:

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, you rescue us from the abyss of sin and our wayward longing for things which cannot fully satisfy.

You pursue us when the power of despair weighs us down and whips our spiritual lives into a tailspin.

May we ever be thankful for your bountiful love and amazing grace which restores us and for lifting us high on your strong shoulders so we rejoice in your never failing mercy.

Strengthen us by the Holy Spirit to lift others on our shoulders when the weight of guilt and shame is too much for them to bear.

To You, our Good Shepherd, we give praise and thanksgiving now and forever.

In the name of God the Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

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