In His lost sheep parable, Jesus illustrates His concern for the lost and His love for the repentant sinner.
It takes courage to return to the confessional and reveal long-hidden failures to a priest. We draw back when we imagine how ugly the words will sound when they hit the air. But we must remember that when we’re truly sorry for our sins and seek forgiveness, it’s the Good Shepherd who leads us to the confessional, who comforts and forgives us and who dispenses His grace to us through the priest. When the priest says, “I absolve you of your sins,” we’ll know it’s the Good Shepherd Himself, for there’s no mistaking His forgiveness. The sinful secrets we were so frightened to confess are gone forever.
Back in His flock, we are restored. We begin to sense God’s favor upon us. His grace helps us avoid committing the same sins and we learn that we are forgiven only to the extent we forgive others. Jesus, the Good Shepherd has left His Spirit to guide us and will never leave us alone—we have His word, His peace. Our hearts are free!