So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
On Christmas Day, December 25, 2016, my pastor began his homily by asking the question pondered by so many learned and brilliant theologians through the centuries:
Why did God become man, to be incarnated as a lowly human being born in a humble manger, only to suffer and die for us?
Below is my reconstruction of his homily.
The Parable of the Farmer and the Geese
There once was a farmer who, though a decent man, was an unbeliever because he could not understand why God would become man, only to be crucified to death, abandoned by his friends.
The farmer loved all animals, but especially loved birds.
One morning, news came of the imminent arrival of a terrible snow storm. Anxious to protect his flock of geese from the coming blizzard, the farmer put his heavy coat on and went out to get the geese into the shelter and safety of the barn.
He first tried coaxing the geese, gently shooing them into the barn. But the geese, being geese, refused to be coaxed.
He then tried luring the geese into the barn. He got a bag of grain and left a trail of seed from the outside into the barn. The geese ate the seed but stubbornly refused to enter the barn.
Meanwhile, the wind began to howl, and heavy snow began to fall . . . .
Now desperate, the farmer thought he would try scaring the geese. So he took a hammer and banged on a metal pan, so that the loud noise would frighten the geese into the barn. But the geese again refused to budge.
So the farmer gave up and retreated into his house.
In the warmth of his living room, he stood helplessly at the window, watching the blizzard descend on the geese. He knew they would surely die in the freezing storm.
In despair, a thought came to the farmer: “If only I could become a goose, then maybe the geese might listen to me and follow me into the barn . . . .”
At that, the farmer finally understood.
Falling on his knees, sobbing and choking with tears, he said: “Forgive me, Lord. I know now why You became man.”
1 Peter 2:24-25
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned
to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
May the peace and joy of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,