The WORD in Other Words by Fr Nielo Cantilado SVD (Philippines)
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Ez 34:11–16, Rom 5:5b–11, Lk 15:3–7
“Walang maiiwan sa bayan ni Juan” (No one will be left behind in Juan‘s country) is a confrere‘s motto in his social justice advocacy. He believes that everyone who has a dream, who works at it diligently and with determination, deserves to be given another chance at life — an opportunity.
The parable of the lost sheep illustrates the truth that for God no one should be left behind. Jesus is the good shepherd; he is abundant in mercy. Jesus’ heart can accommodate anyone with no conditions. For as long as the individual never runs short of believing in innate goodness, he will never lose the chance to gain his original dignity — created in the image and likeness of God. Every person’s life matters to God. That‘s the reason why Jesus came to die for our sake. As the Good Shepherd he carries us — our burdens and weaknesses — upon his shoulders; his heart assures us of healing from our woundedness. He celebrates at having brought one that has strayed back to the Father‘s fold.
The Lord is never outdone in compassion. We only need to believe that the grain of goodness God planted in our heart is worth Jesus‘ sacrifice and death. Like a caring and nurturing shepherd, Jesus will never abandon anyone the Father has entrusted him. He comes searching, leading us back to the fold, and invites those who have experienced his love and compassion to serve as companions in the search for the weak and lost among his Father‘s flock.