Gospel: (Luke 15:1-32)
Jesus addressed this parable: “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.
One sheep isn’t worth much in comparison to the ninety-nine, yet the shepherd rejoices when he finds it. The message tells us that nothing and no one is insignificant to God. No calculating person would risk ninety-nine for one. But God does not act like us calculating humans—God always acts with the utmost compassion and love. God desires that no one be lost. For this we rejoice and feast. If God is so compassionate and loving with us, then as faithful disciples of Jesus we must risk being so compassionate and loving with others. First of all, this means that we don’t judge whether the other is worth our compassion and love. God shows us that all are—even outcasts and siners. (Living Liturgy, p.208)
“A man has one hundred sheep and loses one. In the story Jesus brings us right into the heart of God. Often we think of the poor just as a group of unfortunate people, but God thinks of each of them as individuals. The poor we meet have always a sense of loss. The poor with whom you are working have a sense of loss of opportunities or a loss of self-respect, or a loss of money, or a loss of friends or a loss of a sense of direction in life. All the poor we meet are suffering from a sense of loss. This parable is also a parable about searching. The shepherd searches for his lost sheep. A Vincentian is always seeking for the poor, searching for those who are lost in life. We must keep searching out the hidden corners of society for the poor who are lost. The parable is also about rejoicing. The shepherd rejoices when he finds his sheep. We ourselves have a sense of joy when we are close to the poor. The beauty of the parable also reflects the mind and heart of God Who is always searching for our hearts and always rejoicing when He finds them.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things,p. 103-4)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
How does this Gospel challenge you?
Lord, give us hearts of compassion for all those who are “lost,”
-so that we may suffer with those who suffer.
Lord, give us the grace to hear the cries of the poor,
-so that we may be a servant of the most oppressed.
Lord, help us not to judge the poor,
–so that we may bring them your love.