This month, classrooms will be taking a look at various aspects of the sacrament of Reconciliation. The older kids are reviewing the mechanics of going to confession, and all ages are learning about God’s mercy and His very personal care for each of us. The classic illustration is that of the Good Shepherd who guides and protects us.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7
Because it is such a perfect picture of what happens whenever we receive the sacrament of Reconciliation (March’s topic), this is the image I’ve chosen to have on my prayer table this month.
I can’t tell you much about this particular version except the obvious (it’s a German mosiac), but it’s generally pleasant and I love the tender relationship between the sheep and the Shepherd. It reminds me of images of Jesus and the children.
Whichever grade level you’re teaching, it’s well worth your time to convey the truths of this parable: that you are His and Jesus will never let you go. You can never stray so far that He won’t come looking for you. The details vary a little, depending on the age of your students, but the message is constant.
Related reading for poetry fans (A little Francis Thompson):
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.