According to St. Asterius of Amasea
from The Office of Hours
Let us look more closely at the hidden meaning of this parable. The sheep is more than a sheep, the shepherd more than a shepherd. They are examples enshrining holy truths. They teach us that we should not look on men as lost or beyond hope; we should not abandon them when they are in danger or be slow to come to their help. When they turn away from the right path and wander, we must lead them back, and rejoice at their return, welcoming them back into the company of those who lead good and holy lives.
It is all too easy to dismiss someone. It is all too easy to do so without even being aware that you are doing so. It is so easy to overlook a voice giving advice or asking for help; it is so easy to be annoyed with those who want something from us. How easy it is to give up on everyone and every thing, to give up the transformation of our own lives and the lives of those around us. How easy it is to bulldoze ahead with our own ideas and our own ways of doing things. How easy it can be to curse someone--particularly someone we do not know well; how simple to wish them ill.
And what an effort of will it takes to invite someone back--especially someone who has done a wrong to us. And yet that it what Lent is about--inviting back all who are children of God. And sometimes that means inviting back someone who has personally offended me.