Gospel: Lk 15:1-10
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 teachers of the law 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 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 gospel says that tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. To some of the Pharisees and scribes this was quite scandalous. It was bad enough socializing with them but to share their food was unthinkable; they were unclean and one became unclean by sitting at the same table with them. To eat with people was a sign of recognition and acceptance; as far as the Pharisees were concerned these were immoral and unholy people. Being very intimate with them, the Pharisees and scribes confirmed their conviction and belief that Jesus was like them. In reply, Luke gives us three separate parables touching the same theme. We have two of them today. The third and most famous is the Prodigal Son. Each one is a picture of God’s attitude towards the sinner and it is very different from that of the Pharisee. These stories were told as Jesus’ response to the criticism of some scribes and Pharisees. He spent time in their company not because he did not mind what they did; on the contrary, his whole purpose was to affirm their dignity as persons and change them. But he could not do that at a distance. The only way is being with them as the best way of making them feel significant, accepted, and loved. Much of this is highly relevant for our Christian life today. There is probably a lot more of the Pharisee in our Christian hearts than we are prepared to admit. The challenge is on us to reach out to the sinner and to the lost.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018