There are many animals in the world to compare us with but why Jesus compared us with sheep and goats? He could have compared us with horses, very fast and powerful or any other powerful and intelligent animals. The reason I found from few readings, sheep and goats are a kind of dumbest and frail animals. Sorry, It's not a judgement. You might have noticed no goat or sheep is an item in the circus. Another thing, they are very slow to detect danger. Because of this reason, they easily submit themselves to the enemy. They eat whatever they see and get sick. Jesus realized we are spiritual life is this way; dumbest and frail. We are very weak and frail in our spiritual life. We are tempted and attacked by devil very easily.
I remember last lent, I made a resolution to abstain from ice-cream and let me confess, I failed at least four times. I know I have given up ice cream for lent by my heart but very weak to follow it strongly.
This must be the story of many of us during past lent. Look at the times you were tempted by the devil, sometimes very easily, right? A phone call, beautiful face, smell.. Devil is there to destroy our happiness and joy. He tempts us with the things we see most beautiful and charming. That is why St. Francis asks God, why did you create temptations so beautiful and delicious( Novel God's Pauper).
Jesus knows our spiritual nature and explains the need of God for our spiritual health with an analogy of sheep and shepherd. In those times where bible is written Shepherd is a term used to show a person with kindness, love and compassion. What Jesus is trying to say in this parable is, he is the good shepherd who knows us by name and he is the one who gives us life abundantly. And Jesus knows our life will be terrible without him.
We had a monkey sweetie-we got her abandoned on the street when she was 3 months old. One day she run away from her home and what worried all of us is that how she is going to get food? Is she going to survive? Any animal is going to attack her. We knew that she can't survive without us. But we find in the night she knocking at one of the friars room. You might have gone through similar pain when you lost your dog or pet. We know that they cannot survive without us.
Dear brothers and sisters, the story of sheep and shepherd teaches us that we can't live without Jesus. Our life will be in danger without him. We will be spiritually sick without Jesus.
We have seen the image Jesus carrying the lamb on his shoulder. This image explains the relationship that Jesus wants to build with us. If we look closer in the picture we can see how compassionately Jesus carries the lamb. How safe the lamb feels. When we are danger and loose ourselves let this image help us to trust in Jesus the good shepherd. And when we loose ourselves in sin let the compassionate image of Jesus help you to return to him so that we might have life and have it more abundantly.