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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus asks: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?” Well, of course not! No self-respecting shepherd would ever think of doing that. If you were a shepherd, you’d cut your losses. That sheep is probably dead anyway if it wandered far enough away.

But we are to understand that God is like that foolish shepherd. God’s love throws caution to the wind to seek out the lost sheep. We might expect God to be good to those who are good and kind to those who follow his commandments. Those who don’t, who wander away, are simply lost. God might give them a few minutes, but then they’re on their own.

No; God is like this kooky shepherd. God loves irrationally, exuberantly risking it all in order to find the one who wandered away. What good news: God does not love according to a strict justice on our terms, but loves in his own extravagant way.