In Luke 15:4, Jesus tells them a parable about a Lost Sheep.
He says,“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?”
Now I have always wondered why the sheep got lost in the first place?
I asked a group of Year 2 students and they gave me the following answers,
“Maybe he was looking for a pasture with more grass.”
“Perhaps he was being bullied by the other sheep.”
“Possibly a wolf had infiltrated the flock and he was escaping.”
Interpreting the answers, the students gave me I will attempt to put it in a modern context.
Firstly, the sheep looking for a better pasture is not happy with the shepherd and thinks he can do better on his own. However, has the parable points out the sheep fails to realise how important the guidance and wisdom of the shepherd is and his inability to make the right decisions leads him to being lost. Thus it is the shepherd that guides the sheep leading them to a field of green grass and along the right paths through his knowledge and his teachings.
Secondly, the sheep being bullied is also plausible because in a flock of one hundred sheep not everyone is going to get along. Maybe the falling out with another sheep or even more dramatically a sheep gang caused the sheep to be fearful of his every movement and uncomfortable in his decision making has he was unsure of what to do next. Hence, no real sense of belonging to that flock of sheep.
Finally, the wolf infiltrating the flock is an interesting idea. Could it be a sheep proposing they have seen a wolf amongst their flock and sending everyone into a state of panic? Conversely, is a wolf really inside their flock and threatening their very existence. Either way the Shepherd through his leadership can alleviate their fears by demonstrating he has the power to deal with the wolf no matter what menace the wolf poses. Furthermore, imparting on the sheep that if they follow him there is nothing they shall want.
As Pope Francis says a true leader must “smell of the sheep” they listen, relate to our experiences and inspire us to believe that anything is possible. Furthermore, they are courageous and fearless and are prepared to take risks even if comes at a personal cost since their decisions are made for the greater good. Consequently, their vision lives on because their goal was to create an environment where everyone is special, thrives and feels happy.