“Will he not leave the other ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of a stray?” Is this a trick question? Because this doesn’t seem like the obvious course of action to me at all. I’ve never been a shepherd and I’ve never seen a sheep outside of a petting zoo, but there’s a reason they need full-time shepherding, right? If you go looking for the one, couldn’t you lose five more? Jesus’ rhetorical question strikes me as unreasonable.
The kingdom doesn’t always work quite like I expect it to. In fact, it usually doesn’t. Part of the unexpectedness that the reading invites today is an extravagance that goes beyond what I might think is reasonable. I wonder, where am I being called to love with unreasonable extravagance today? Who are the lost ones in my life I’m called to find and rejoice over?
—Matthew Spotts, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching history and religion at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Indianapolis IN.