The Lost Sheep and the Lost Silver Coin

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don't need repentance. Or what woman, who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin does not light a lamp sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels over one sinner who repents.”

(Luke 15:4-10)

The two parables reinforce the central idea contained in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In both, it is clearly an image of a straying human being who later corrects his mistakes i.e. a lost one was found with joy.

The biggest shepherd's joy was to save just one out of the 100 sheep. Similarly, the woman did not pay attention to the 9 silver coins she had but exulted finding just the tenth. Great is the joy in heaven for each sinner that repents. It does not matter if only one among millions is rescued. The joy will always be the same. Because of this, no effort can be excessive in giving true help to any fellowman who is suffering and who deserves assistance. Suffering paves the way for help to reach the soul.

Note that it is always the sinner himself who repents, and this implies a radical change in behavior with respect to the past errors. This requirement is far from the idea of obtaining pardon for sins through the acceptance of a blind faith or through the compulsory compliance with invented penitence.

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