Parable of the Good Shepherd

The Good ShepherdOur Lord means to teach in this parable (Matthew 18) the care and love of God for the little ones, that is to say the weak, of whom He thinks so much that He has placed them under the protection of His angels. God wishes that not one of them should become lost; hence the duty of looking after them to secure their salvation. The lesson is conveyed in the parable of the lost sheep; a shepherd with a flock of 100 sheep will leave the 99 that are not in danger and in no special need of his care, in order to look for the one that has been lost, and will not give up the search until he has found the lost one. This parable resembles very closely that in Luke, 15, and so quite naturally the two parables are commonly identified. The differences between them are of the kind that may be expected in two parallel versions of the same discourse, teaching essentially the same lesson; the value of the soul in the eyes of God, whence flows the necessity of doing everything to reclaim one on the way to perdition, the point brought out especially by Saint Matthew, and the joy of God over the conversion of the sinner, the point brought out especially by Saint Luke.