Sunday, September 12, 2010


Every human being is most precious in God’s sight. Created in His image and likeness, we are invited to be with Him for ever in heaven!

Unfortunately, sin has always threatened to thwart such a beautiful plan through the wrong use of our freedom. That is why our loving Creator has become also our Good Shepherd who, not only leads His flock to verdant meadows and refreshing waters, but also seeks out and brings back to the fold the sheep that have gone astray.

Every Eucharist is both a memorial of the suffering which the caring Shepherd endured in order to save the lost sheep, and a joyful celebration of the fruitfulness of his search. Let us participate in this Eucharist with gratitude, for we, too, have been among the sheep that got lost and who were rescued by God’s self-sacrificing love.

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So to them he 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.

Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? 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!’

In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


We manifest the value we attach to what we own by the care with which we use it or the way we keep it, and especially by the pain we experience when we lose it. That is why Jesus used the parables of the lost sheep and of the lost coin to impress on his audience how dear each individual human being is to God.

We are precious to Him because He has created us in His image and likeness, and has destined to share His life for ever. And the proof of how dear we are to God is in what He does when we run the risk of getting lost.

When this happens, He does not sit back and conclude in a detached manner, that such has been our choice and that He respects it. Nor does He find consolation for our loss in thinking that, after all, He still has so many other people who remain close to Him.

We are not just precious to Him. We are UNIQUELY PRECIOUS to Him and He loves each of us as if he/she were the only one who exists. Both parables in today’s Gospel passage speak of ONE getting lost, be it a sheep or a coin.

That is why, when we make a wrong choice, God does not get resigned to the idea that we should suffer the consequences for it. He would not get resigned to this loss even if we were the only ones to be lost. This is the reason for the Incarnation. This is the reason for all that Christ did and endured in order to find the “lost sheep” and bring them home to the safety of the Father’s house. There is no greater sign of how precious each of us is to God than the incarnation, suffering, and death of God’s Son.

The reaction of the shepherd and the woman when they lose what they hold so dear is one of ANXIOUS CONCERN and ACTIVE SEARCH in view of finding that one lost item. The meaning of all this is that God’s LOVE for sinners does not just wait patiently for them to come back. Instead, it goes in search of them, as if nothing else mattered.

The case of Paul’s conversion in today’s Second Reading is a practical example not only of God’s immense patience with sinners (see v. 16), but also of how mercifully and generously He deals with them. (See v. 14.) Each of us could tell the same story, for all of us have experienced God’s merciful love not just once, but numberless times.

Today’s parables also tell us that when God manages to rescue a sinner (symbolized by the finding of the lost sheep/coin), He REJOICES and CELEBRATES with His “friends and neighbors.” Love rejoices and celebrates and invites others to be part of it! It is the pure rejoicing that replaces the past sorrow and overflows on to all those who shared the pain of the loss. It is just right that all the friends of God should rejoice. They are part of His “family.” We should feel part of the family!

So the two parables do not just tell us how precious every human being is to God, but also how much we should share in His appreciation and love for each human person, participate in His concern over those who are in danger of getting lost, and be one with Him in rejoicing over the finding of the lost brothers or sisters.