Seeking Out the Lost Sheep

Luke 15: 3-7
Ex 34:11-16 / Ps 23 / Rom 5:5-11

. . . There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
(Luke 15:7)

In times when we may fall to sin,
Don’t let the light of hope grow dim;
God’s love will wipe our record clean,
His mercy draws us back to Him.

Jesus told this prarable: “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? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy 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.’ 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.” (Luke 15:3-7)

Reflection

The message that Jesus is imparting in this parable is that the call to repentance always comes first as God’s initiative. He seeks us out when we have wandered away from the Church. It was precisely because our Lord kept company with tax collectors and sinners, and the scribes and pharisees complained about this ‘behaviour’ that Jesus gave this parabolic lesson. His acceptance of their company would be the first step in the right direction for their lives. His parable was exactly what He was doing– seeking out the lost sheep, as, “I did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.” (Mt.9:13)

Jesus may be asking us, “Who among you, having a hundred members in your community, is concerned about one errant member who has not been attending your prayer meetings, and will try to bring him back to active status?” How much of God’s love and compassion have we received here in our community that we can be as passionate in keeping all our brothers and sisters in the fold as we are in inviting new members to our fellowships? How concerned are we when one of our brothers takes a fall, and reverts to his old ways? Do we try to a find way to bring him back to the fold? Or are we instead relieved that he is no longer attending our fellowships?

Our Lord shows us in this parable that we must be willing to get our pristine-white clothes dirty in order to find a lost sheep. He Himself, the Creator of the universe, became man to elevate us to His glory and kingship. Even in our sinfulness, in the name of love, He took a risk in becoming a man (vulnerable to temptation), in order to offer us a place in His divinity, notwithstanding our sinful nature.

Teach us, dear God, to imitate our Good Shepherd: to discard our prejudices and our feelings of righteousness, and to seek out brothers and sisters who have wandered away from our flock. After all, we are all sinners; we are all in need of repentance. Amen.

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