A mother was once asked by a census taker how many children she had. She replied, “Well there’s Nathan, Daniel and Elisha and…” Never mind the names,’ the man interrupted, “Just give me the numbers.” The mother angrily replied, “They don’t have numbers, they all have names!”
This might be a funny story, but don’t you find that there is some truth to it in our modern world. We are often reduced to statistics and numbers, especially by the government. Here in Canada, our governments know us by our Social Insurance Numbers, and that identity is included in almost all of our lifetime records and transactions. Even our opinions are reflected in numbers in survey results, as is seen by the surveys conducted during a federal election campaign.
Thankfully, as we hear this morning in our gospel reading from John, Jesus is not like that. He knows each and every one of us by our names, just like a shepherd knows each and everyone of his sheep. After all, he is the Good Shepherd.