Thursday of the thirty-first week in Ordinary Time – Odd Year

Posté par diaconos le 4 novembre 2021

It is not the will of my Father in heaven that one of these should perish”  | worryisuseless

Michel Houyoux, Retired secondary school science teacher in Mons at Collège Saint Stanislas in Mons – 1,580 papers

 The parable of the lost sheep, also known as the « parable of the Good Shepherd » or « the Good Shepherd », attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, is found in two canonical Gospels of the New Testament. It is recorded in Matthew (Mt 18:12-13) and Luke (Lk 15:3-7). It is also found in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, logion 107.

Possible parallels in the Old Testament are Ezek 34:6, 12 and Ps 119:176. The parable has given rise to an expression, the ‘lost sheep’, referring, like the ‘prodigal son’ in a parable that follows soon after in Luke, to the person who goes morally astray, or, again in Luke, to the lost coin. The first two parables, and sometimes all three, serve as the basis for theologians’ and preachers’ considerations on the need to seek out the lost sheep and bring it back into the fold, in the case of unintentional loss, or to welcome the repentant sinner with grace, in the case of voluntary loss.

The Lost Drachma is a parable told in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 8-10. It is one of the three parables of redemption, together with the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son, which Jesus Christ tells after being accused by the Pharisees and their rulers of being invited into the homes of sinners and sharing their meals. This parable immediately follows that of the Lost Sheep and precedes that of the Prodigal Son. In biblical exegesis, it is part of the Sondergut of the Gospel of Luke.

Why Would God Leave the Ninety-Nine?

From the Gospel of Luke

01 The tax collectors and sinners all came to Jesus to listen to him. 02 The Pharisees and scribes complained against him, saying, « This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. » 03 Then Jesus told them this parable : 04 « If one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does he not leave the other ninety-nine in the desert and go out to look for the one that is lost until he finds it?

05 When he has found it, he takes it on his shoulders, rejoicing, 06 and when he returns home, he gathers his friends and neighbours to say to them, « Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep, the one that was lost ! » 07 I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who is converted than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need conversion.

08 Or if a woman has ten pieces of silver and loses one, does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it ? 09 When she has found it, she gathers her friends and neighbours to say to them, « Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece of silver that I had lost ! » 10 So I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who is converted. » (Lk 15, 1-10)

The lost and found drachma

What woman, having ten drachmas and losing one, did not take painstaking care to find it? And when she found it, she involved her friends and neighbours in her joy. Likewise, there is joy among the angels for a sinner who repents.

The sinners, hated because of their profession and despised because of the injustices they often committed in practising it, the sinners, men known as vicious and more or less lost in reputation, approached Jesus, in order to better hear the words of mercy and forgiveness that came from his mouth.

Jesus’ teachings awakened their conscience. They were painfully aware of the weight and bitterness of sin, and rejected by all, they were drawn to this Envoy of God, who had always shown his tender compassion to their fellow men.

Jesus not only received and welcomed sinners and sinners with kindness, but he condescended to eat with them, which was, in the East, a mark of familiarity and trust. The proud Pharisees could neither understand nor forgive this behaviour of Jesus. They saw in it a contempt for morality and justice, which they thought they alone possessed.

Their murmurings were therefore both a rebuke to Jesus and an expression of their disdain for sinners and sinners. Jesus answered with three wonderful parables: a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son, indicating at the outset that it was the lost that he sought with compassion and love. Then his joy at finding and saving him was to confuse the Pharisees, who had such different feelings.

Jesus appealed to the feelings of his listeners : « Which of you is the man? Then he used the image of the good shepherd, under which the Church has always represented her Saviour and Head. The sheep is incapable, as soon as it is lost, of returning to the fold or of defending itself in the presence of the slightest danger, or of bearing any fatigue. In order that she not be irrevocably lost, the shepherd must seek her out, carry her, and give her all his care. A perfect image of sinful man, far from God.

Jesus described his compassion and love in the form of the shepherd who searches for his sheep without respite until he finds them. This was his life’s work, and he pursued it through his servants, through his Spirit, through all the means of his grace. One sheep out of ninety-nine is not much: it follows from this, says M. Godet, that it was not so much interest as pity that led the shepherd to act as he did.

The ninety-nine he left in the uncultivated places, the steppes, where the sheep were fed, represent the Israelites who remained outwardly faithful to the divine covenant and who felt much less need of a Saviour than the sinners and sinners. God, the Saviour, the angels of God, who take part in the salvation of a lost soul. What love was revealed in this line of the parable ! Are there any righteous people on earth who do not need repentance ?

Jesus spoke of that legality which his Pharisee hearers were availing themselves of. He used the terms sinners, righteous, repentance in the external sense in which they understood them, who imagined that it was enough to be part of the people of the covenant and to observe the Levitical ordinances to be assured of salvation.

Jesus wanted them to understand that God prefers the feelings of humiliation and love of the repentant sinner to the self-righteousness of those who never strayed from the right path. How could there not have been more joy for those poor sinners who came to throw themselves into the arms of Jesus and receive in their hearts, already renewed by repentance, the words of mercy and forgiveness that he addressed to them ?

From that moment on, they belonged entirely to him and sacrificed their lives to him with a gratitude and love that are the soul of all true piety. Matthew kept this parable, giving it a different place and meaning from that which it has in Luke. It was used to describe the love and care of Jesus for one of the little ones whom He forbade to despise and whom He represented under the image of the lost sheep, which He sought and saved.

This application of the parable is not without truth. The drachma was a Greek currency, worth, like the Roman denarius, a little less than a franc, the price of a worker’s day. The painstaking care taken by this poor woman to find her lost drachma showed how precious it was to her. This piece of money, painstakingly earned, was necessary for her subsistence.

Thus, this parable reveals the love of God, which was the price that a man created in His image, destined to belong to Him forever, kept for her, lost as he was. God will do anything rather than consent to lose him. This is one of the characteristics of love, which is recounted in the image of the woman’s joy.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Pamibi : click here to read the paper →  Thursday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time

◊ Catholic for life  : click here to read the paper → Thursday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time , year B

Bambara film: Yesu Krisita : »The lost lamb »

Image de prévisualisation YouTube

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