In today’s First Reading Isaiah describes the Lord not only coming, but caring for his people as a sheep cares for its flock. The Lord is powerful, but so tender that he imagines us as his lambs and ewes. Despite this idyllic portrait of pastoral life sheep can also be smelly, filthy, and ill-tempered. Just like those shepherds will be the night of Our Lord’s nativity, the life of a shepherd often means time out in the dark and cold caring for his flock, who don’t follow a schedule of 9 to 5 and, like a curious child, often obliviously go wandering into trouble, intentionally or unintentionally.
That is a perfect portrait of the Incarnation. Our Heavenly Father does not want to write off one single soul. Not one. Our Lord in his Incarnation has opted to leave aside the bright joy of eternal glory in order to come into the dark and cold night of our sin and seek out each one of us. Not just all of us; every single one of us. Sin scatters, and Our Lord has come to gather us together again. In the end he’ll chase down a fleeing soul all the way to the brink of death, as he did the Good Thief being crucified alongside him at Calvary. He spares no effort.
Our Lord is coming this Christmas to bring you out of the cold. Don’t hide from him.
Readings: Isaiah 40:1–11; Psalm 96:1–3, 10–13; Matthew 18:12–14. See also 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C, 4th Sunday of Lent, Cycle C, 2nd Week of Lent, Saturday, and 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.