In God's eyes we are all this one special sheep. Each of us is looked upon with the same predilection with which the shepherd treats this stray sheep.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?”
What could be so special about this sheep to elicit such an overreaction from the shepherd?
The shepherd’s reaction seems almost incomprehensible, taking into account the importance of the rest of the flock and the consequences that sheep that refused to remain in the flock would normally face. Indeed, it was the practice, when faced with a wayward sheep, to break one of its legs so as to prevent it from escaping. Instead, this strange shepherd reacts with simple joy upon finding it.
In God’s eyes we are all this one special sheep. Each of us is looked upon with the same predilection with which the shepherd treats this stray sheep. Each of us must reach the point of experiencing this uniqueness. This is the truest experience of love, for when we feel loved we feel that we are unique.
Love is never the experience of simply feeling treated like everyone else; it’s the experience of feeling special, an object of divine preference. When a man loves a woman he looks at her with different eyes, just as when a woman loves a man she looks at him with special preference.
If we say we’re loved by God, we shouldn’t feel like creatures like everyone else; we have to let the Spirit (this is our spiritual life!) make us experience this special preference to the point of letting it change us.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.