At the general audience, the Pope explained the parable of the Good Shepherd who leaves 99 sheep in the wilderness to go look for one lost sheep. This is an image of God's attitude toward sinners.
"Each of us is that sheep that the Lord, full of mercy, takes upon his shoulders to take home. At the same time, each have been called to gather together with the Good Shepherd and the whole flock, to participate in all of their joy,” said the Pope.
He continued, "We can not demand the Lord to stay with us, forgetting the others. If you want to 'have Him,' we must follow to where the lost sheep is found.”
SUMMARY OF POPE'S CATECHESIS
"Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now turn to Jesus’ parable of the Good Shepherd. The Lord uses the image of the shepherd who leaves his flock to go in search of one lost sheep to express God’s closeness to sinners. God does not want even a single person to be lost. In his infinite mercy, he is always ready to meet us wherever we are.
The example of the Good Shepherd also challenges us to go out in search of those in particular need of God’s mercy, especially those who have gone astray. Jesus teaches us that in his eyes there are no lost sheep, but only sheep needing to be found. The joy which the Good Shepherd feels must also be the joy of the entire flock. For all of us are lost sheep who were found by the Lord’s mercy. All of us are called to rejoice in his merciful love, to bring that love to others and thus to join him in gathering into the fold all those whom he wishes to save.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the Seychelles, Canada and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!"