So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Here, Jesus is teaching us to rejoice at the restoration of the one to the community of the many. As in the analogous parables of the lost coin and the prodigal son, finding the lost sheep and its subsequent restoration to the flock bring joy to the shepherd and are a cause for celebration. The tension and worry of the shepherd stemming from the sheep’s absence have been resolved. Also, the sinner who repents is restored to God, which causes great joy in the community of heaven.
We all find ourselves as both the lost sheep and the flock at different moments in our lives. It is important to remember that personal repentance restores our relationship with God and brings us back into the flock through Jesus. It is a cause for celebration and great joy, both individually and as a community.
—Liliana Mamani Condori is a Peruvian lawyer pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies at Boston College. Sam Hay is finishing his MA in Theology and Ministry at B.C., and currently works for its School of Education.
More than ever I find myself in the hands of God.
This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth.
But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God.
It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.
—Pedro Arrupe S.J.