Bishop Chito Tagle’s Reflection on the Lost Sheep

This is a continuation of the highlights of Bishop Chito Tagle’s Lenten Recollection called Found By Love. For this particular blog post, we shall focus on the Lost Sheep.

Let us read first from Luke 15: 4-6 (TEV): “…Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them — what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them: I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate…”

During his discussion on the above bible verse, Bishop Tagle gave some interesting insights. First, he informs us, that in ancient Palestine, to be considered a wealthy shepherd, one had to have at least 300 sheep. In the above verse, the shepherd we are talking about just has a 100 so given the standards then, this shepherd was an average one. As he was not very wealthy, he could not hire a watchman and had to tend to his flock by himself. Watching his flock all day, at the end of the day, the shepherd would need to count his sheep to see if the flock was complete.

Second, Bishop Tagle tackled the reasons as to why a sheep might get lost. A sheep might get lost if it were sick or wounded. Given that condition, the sheep may have gotten weak and could not keep pace with the rest of the flock. One other reason was that the sheep was plain unintelligent. Sheep are known to be gentle creatures but they are generally not very bright. Thus, the lost sheep may not have been able to follow the shepherd as it led the flock.

Considering the sheep that was lost, the sheep is of no value to the shepherd. A sheep that is sick, wounded, or unintelligent will actually be a liability to the shepherd. It may not actually help him earn anything. It may even be a burden. So given this, why does the shepherd even bother to look for that one lost sheep?

Bishop Tagle, at the end of his discourse, then stresses the main reason why the shepherd would even search for the sheep. “I will look for you because you are mine. You belong to me.”

It is the same in our relationship with the Lord. The Lord looks for us because we are His. He does not look at our market value. He does not look at what we can do for Him. We are of extreme value because we belong to Him.

Bishop Tagle points out that this thinking of the shepherd or of our Lord defies human norms. Most of the time, our world is functional or pragmatic. He says oftentimes, we hear people ask: “May kikitain ba ako diyan?” (Will I earn something from that?) “May mapapala ka ba diyan?” (Will you get something out of what do you?) Or in our popular telenovelas: “Ikaw ang lumayas, ikaw ang bumalik.” (You ran away from home, you come back on your own.)

Shouldn’t we be glad that our Lord is a Good Shepherd who seeks out the lost? And Bishop Tagle assures us that “if you are lost, wait to be found because you do not know the way.” Personally, I do not take that to mean that we should go about our happy, merry, mindless ways…first, to be found, we must recognize that there is a Good Shepherd and trust and hope in Him for He is the only One Who can truly lead us home.

Up Next: Bishop Tagle’s Reflection on the Lost Coin

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