Only with Love and Care

I have always wondered why it was appropriate for God to describe us as his flock of sheep, and himself as the shepherd. A closer look at this metaphor reveals a relationship between power and powerlessness. Come to think of it: sheep are one of the most stupid animals! They just follow the bandwagon without looking right or left. Sheep tend to listen to their shepherd. But they easily get distracted by anything that they run for the object of the distraction. And when one sheep moves in the direction of the distracting object, the rest follow without any hesitation, even if a car is coming. That’s how stupid they can be. Yet, God chose to describe us as sheep rather than as horses or dogs or cats!

The point is this: God understands us so well and knows we can be unthinking sometimes. We can make bad choices and are carried away by emotions that we commit great errors; God knows we can be so rigidly convinced in something that can be damaging or even disastrous to others and to ourselves. We can put ourselves in harm’s way without thinking twice. Parents battle over this with their children. All this and more because we are human beings. We can think and reflect, but it doesn’t mean we do that all the time. As the Good Shepherd, God takes good care of us with love and care. He tries hard to prevent us from hurting ourselves. And even when we have hurt ourselves and are hurt by others or have hurt others, God works hard to heal us from our self-inflicted wounds. He works hard at convincing us that our mistakes and when we stray do not take us away from his embrace. With love and care he constantly calls us to Himself so that we can have a good life in abundance. As you reflect on this relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, may it lead you deeper into the nature of God’s heart: a heart filled with love and care!

~Fr. Cornelius Okeke