A reading rom the gospel according to Luke 15:1-10
1 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
4 “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?
5 And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
6 and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
7 I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
8 “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?
9 And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
10 In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Reflection: There is joy in finding the lost.
The mission of Jesus to “the last, the least and the lost” is a familiar theme of the four gospels. Jesus Himself declared that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24). In the gospel reading above, Luke introduces chapter 15 with the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin.
In the real business world, it would be foolish for a smart shepherd to leave the 99 sheep and expose them to danger in order to look for that single lost sheep. Yet the gospels are replete with stories of reversals where Jesus would espouse something that is contrary to human instinct and behavior. The Parable of the Lost Sheep is one of them.
Jesus is full of compassion and He has taught His disciples to be compassionate too. His love for His people is overflowing. That is the ultimate essence of the parable of the Lost Sheep. He is the Good Shepherd after all. He never wanted anyone of His sheep to get lost and if, for any reason one sheep gets lost, He will do everything to find it. If He finds it, imagine How happy He would be!
The same is true with the Parable of Lost Coin. In today’s world, time is gold and nobody would spend the whole afternoon looking for a lost coin. Still, even if you do it and successfully finds it, would you jump up and down for joy and telling everyone about it? Your friends will laugh at you if you do! Yet the lost coin, like the lost sheep, has a profound meaning. It actually represents you and me.
As sinners, we are the lost sheep and the lost coin in the sight of God. For our Creator, we are worth more than actual sheep and coins. So He sent His only Son to look for us. If He finds us and we repent and go back to the fold, there will be a thunderous applause in heaven!
Let us follow the example of the Good Shepherd. Looking for one lost sheep is worth our time and effort. There are many of them in our world today. The joy of finding them and bringing them back to God is beyond compare.