Thursday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
God of power and mercy,
only with your help
can we offer you fitting service and
May we live the faith we profess
and trust your promise of eternal life.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Luke 15,1-10
collectors and sinners, however, were all crowding round to listen to Jesus, and
the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, 'This man welcomes sinners and
eats with them.'
So he told them
this parable: 'Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would
fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till
he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his
shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours,
saying to them, "Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was
In the same
way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner
repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.
'Or again, what
woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out
the house and search thoroughly till she found it? And then, when she had found
it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice
with me, I have found the drachma I lost."
In the same
way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant
• The Gospel today presents the first one
of three parables united among themselves by one same word. It is a question of
three things which were lost: the lost sheep (Lk 15, 3-7), the lost
drachma (Lk 15, 8-10), and the lost son (Lk 15.11-32). The three parables are
addressed to the Pharisees and to the Doctors of the Law who criticized Jesus
(Lk 15, 1-3). That is, they are addressed to the Pharisee and to the Scribe or
doctor of the Law which is in each one of us.
• Luke 15, 1-3: Those to whom the
parables are addressed. The first three verses describe the context in
which the three parables were pronounced: “At that time, the tax collectors
and sinners were all crowding round to listen to him. The Pharisees and Scribes
complained”. On one side there were the tax collectors and the sinners; on
the other the Pharisees and the Doctors of the Law. Luke speaks exaggerating
somewhat: “The tax collectors and the sinners were all crowding round to
listen to Jesus”. There was something in Jesus which attracted them. It is
the word of Jesus which attracts them (cf. Is 50, 4). They want to listen to
him. This is a sign that they do not feel condemned, but rather they feel
accepted by him. The criticism of the Pharisees and the Scribes is the
following: "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!” When
sending out the seventy-two disciples (Lk 10, 1-9), Jesus had ordered them to
accept the excluded, the sick, the possessed (Mt 10, 8; Lk 10, 9) and to gather
them for the banquet (Lk 10, 8).
• Luke 15, 4: The Parable of the lost
sheep. The parable of the lost sheep begins with a question: “Which one
of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the
ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it?” Before
giving a response, Jesus must have looked around to see who was listening to
him to see how they would have answered. The question is formulated in such a
way that the response can only be a positive one: “Yes, he will go after the
lost sheep!” And you, how would you answer? Would you leave the ninety-nine in
the field to go and look for the only one which got lost? Who would do this?
Probably, the majority would have answered: “Jesus, who among us? Nobody would
do such an absurd thing. The proverb says: “Better one bird in the hand than
one hundred flying around!”
• Luke 15, 5-7: Jesus interprets the
parable of the lost sheep. Now, in the parable the shepherd does that which
nobody would do: to leave everything and to go and look for the lost sheep. God
alone can assume such an attitude! Jesus wants that we become aware, conscious
of the Pharisee or the Scribe which is in each one of us, The Pharisees and the
Scribes abandoned the sinners and excluded them. They would have never gone to
look for the lost sheep. They would have allowed it to get lost in the desert. They
preferred the ninety-nine. But Jesus places himself in the place of the sheep
which got lost and, which in that context of the official religion, would fall
into despair, without the hope of being accepted. Jesus makes them and us know:
“If you feel that you are a lost sinner, remember that for God you are worth
more than the other ninety-nine sheep. And in case that you are converted, know
that there will be “greater joy in heaven for a sinner who is converted,
than for ninety-nine just who do not need conversion”.
• Luke 15, 8-10: Parable of the lost drachma. The
second Parable: "Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if
she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till
she found it? And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and
neighbours saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, I have found the drachma I lost.
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over
one repentant sinner’”. God rejoices with us. The angels rejoice with us.
The parable serves to communicate hope to those who were threatened with
despair because of the official religion. This message recalls what God tells
us in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah: "Look, I have engraved you on the
palms of my hands!” (Is 49, 16). “Since, I regard you as precious, since you
are honoured and I love you!” (Is 43, 4).
4) Personal questions
• Would you go out to look for the lost
• Do you think that today the Church is
faithful to this parable of Jesus?
5) Concluding prayer
Seek Yahweh and
Remember the marvels he has done,
his wonders, the judgements he has spoken. (Ps 105,4-5)