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Friends, today’s Gospel passage recounts the story of the shepherd finding his lost sheep. Let’s look at that lost sheep. A sheep is something more than a lost coin—which is to say, it has mobility, sense, appetites, and so on. Many years ago, when I was on retreat at the Abbey of Tamie in the Alps, I heard the desperate bleating of a sheep who had fallen into a pit. All night he cried, knowing that he was in trouble and hoping that someone would come to save him.

There are souls who are like the lost sheep. Spiritually compromised, fundamentally unable to help themselves, they are at least aware that they are in a mess. They are like people who commence the AA process by admitting that they have hit bottom and are out of control. They bleat, they cry for help.

And God finds them—and when he finds them, he carries them back, for they are unable to move on their own.