|I am the Good Shepherd|
Our Lord here shows Himself to us as a Shepherd full of love for His sheep. Such, indeed, He truly is to men, during this season of mercy. A portion of His flock had gone astray, and was wandering to and fro amidst the darkness of this world; but Jesus did not forget them. He went in search of them, that He might gather them together. He sought them through lonely deserts, and rocky places, and brambles.
He now speaks to them through His Church, and invites them to return. He sweetly encourages them, for perhaps they might fear and be ashamed to appear before Him, after so many sins. He promises them that, if they will but return to Him, they shall be fed on the richest pastures, near the river bank, and on the mountains of Israel. They are covered with wounds, but He will bind them up; they are weak, but He will strengthen them.
He will once more give them fellowship with the faithful ones who never left Him, and He Himself will dwell with them for ever. Let the sinner, then, yield to this tender love; let him not refuse to make the efforts required for his conversion.
If these efforts of penance seem painful to nature, let him recall to mind those happy days, when he was in grace and in the fold of his good Shepherd. He may be so again. The gate of the fold is open; and thousand who like himself had gone astray are going in with joy and confidence. Let him follow them, and remember how Jesus has said;
'There shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine who need not penance.'
The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger O.S.B. Volume 5 Lent, page 143.