Meanwhile tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what he had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable:
“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and seek out the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbors together and say: ‘Celebrate with me for I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine decent people who do not need to repent.
What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp and sweep the house in a thorough search till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say: ‘Celebrate with me for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”
The introduction given by Luke helps us to understand the parables of today. Tax collectors and sinners are attracted by Jesus’ teaching and they invite him, as the Pharisees also do. But the latter cannot restrain from muttering and judging the behavior of the Master. So, he will justify his conduct before them. And he tells three parables. The third is the famous one of the “prodigal son.” But the other two are shorter and also well known. Jesus takes his stories from men and women in common life and work.
Haven’t we seen many times the beautiful statue of Jesus the Good Shepherd of the catacombs? Really, the lost sheep on Jesus’ shoulders is a touching image of His heart. In our life conversions we have experienced the careful support of Jesus and the joy of heaven.
Haven’t we ever lost coins or precious objects at home? Of course, we have. And we put all our diligence to recover it. Only then can we breathe in peace. Isn’t this a proof of the “humanity” of God toward us? Will we abide in our narrow judgment of our sinner brothers and sisters?
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