The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
The 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 Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“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.”
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):
Jesus rejoices over the repentance of one sinner! Blessed are we for we are all sinners with whom the Lord wishes to be reconciled! All the angels of God rejoice with us!
Yet what does it mean to be reconciled with Christ? Is it simply a repair of the broken relationship between man and God? Is it simply forgiveness of our sins and once more be made clean? For reconciliation to be true there must be a reconfiguration of oneself to the life of Jesus, the Christ who embodies unconditional obedience to the Heavenly Father. “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself,” says Paul in his letter to the Romans. We are neither solitary beings that have no effect on others nor impervious beings that are invincible to others. We are all one body in Christ. The good things that we do build up our brothers and sisters, the evil we do destroy them as well, and if we do neither, the entire body dies because of stagnation that leads to decay. If our state in life is as married couples, then we must do our best to bring our spouse to a better imitation of Jesus. If our state in life is as priests or religious, then we must do our best to expend our life mediating between God and his world. We help others to become better stewards of the earth, more loving not just to our fellow men and women, but to all of God’s creation, even those not made in his image and likeness. As people truly reconciled to Christ, we must follow his example, with humility, compassion, and courage to always be prepared to live for the Gospel, and die for the Gospel. As Paul says, “If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”