Tuesday, 2nd Week of Advent
The Gospel of the day begins with Jesus calling us all to despise none, especially those considered least in the eyes of the world; for they too have angels interceding for them unceasingly in the presence of God. Interestingly, he does not end his exhortation with that insight. He clarifies it with a parable that brings about a paradigm shift to our understanding of God and His love for us!
Prior to the parable, Jesus portrays a transcendent God who has entrusted angels to escort us, to protect us and to intercede for us; Jesus initially presents a God who intervenes in our lives at the request of the angles, Who, until then, is a just mute spectator. Like any other Jew of his times, Jesus was just subscribing to the popular Judaic notion of a transcendent God.
In the parable, however, Jesus depicts a God who constantly accompanies His people in person, not through mediation – like a shepherd who herds his flock not by hired hands but by himself. Jesus highlights God’s solicitous love for us by comparing him to a shepherd who leaves the 99 in pursuit of the lost 1.
The first reading from Prophet Isaiah goes even further in its minutest details to elucidate God’s predilection for the lost with metaphors that evoke as much emotions to move even the hardest of hearts. Here God is likened to a shepherd who feeds his flock, gathers the lamb in his arms and carry them in his bosom, cuddled close to his heart.
Oh how great it is to wait for such a God – who is ridiculously faithful to us, who is obsessively concerned about us, who is insanely in love with us, despite our infidelities and shortcomings!