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“WHY IS THERE MORE JOY IN HEAVEN FOR ONE MAN WHO REPENTS THAN FOR 99 JUST PERSONS WHO NEED NO REPENTANCE? THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.”

ANSWER: “The parables of Jesus usually have a moral lesson for us when read simply and literally, and a spiritual lesson when read as dramatic illustrations of how Christ fulfilled the Old Testament and brought us salvation. Since Our Lord Himself used the scriptures in this way, the Fathers of the Church followed His example.

The Pharisees knew of the mercy of God for His people: Jesus teaches that the repentance of the sinner is not simply an occasion for relief, but for overflowing joy. Immediately after the parable of the lost sheep, Our Lord tells of the woman who found the coin she had lost. She naturally rejoiced over that coin rather than the others. The point is developed further in the parable of the Prodigal Son, in which the grumbling of the older brother serves as a warning to those who begrudge the generosity of God who will pay the last-hired labourers in the vineyard as much as he pays the first.

The allegorical interpretation of the lost sheep sees Christ as the Good Shepherd, fulfilling the prophecy of Ezekiel 34 in which God identifies Himself as the shepherd who searches for the sheep who have strayed. The lost sheep, representing all humanity, is Adam who has fallen. The Good Shepherd went into the wilderness by becoming incarnate in a sinful world, and then carried the lost sheep home by taking the cross on his shoulders. In this reading of the parable, we are all part of the lost sheep, as members of the fallen race of Adam, and the joy of the virtuous is the rejoicing of heaven in the salvation of mankind.

Our Lord’s parables invite us to prayerful meditation and call us not simply to have an opinion but to change our lives. In the case of the lost sheep, the proper response is sincere repentance for our sins, encouraged by the generosity of Our Lord and the joy of heaven at our salvation.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published as part of the feature “Catholic Dilemmas” in “The Catholic Herald” issue August 1 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

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“THE SON OF MAN HAS COME TO SEEK OUT AND SAVE WHAT WAS LOST” (Lk 19:10)

I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall be a true shepherd to them (cf. Ezk 34:16).

INTERCESSIONS

From the depths of every human need, we pray to Christ our Saviour:

R. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give us comfort!

In the darkness of our sin: (R.)

In the depths of our despair: (R.)

In the shadows of our confusion: (R.)

In the valley of death: (R.)

(Personal intentions)

Our Father…

In the Lord’s own house may we dwell for ever and ever. Amen. (cf. Ps 22:6 [Ps 23:6])

 
 

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O, WITH WHAT JOY DOES OUR GOOD SHEPHERD JESUS PLACE EVERY LOST SHEEP ON HIS SHOULDERS TO CARRY IT BACK TO THE FOLD!

THE LOST SHEEP

“What a shepherd is Jesus! Through love for His sheep, in order to save them from hell and to merit heaven for them, He has shed all His Blood, and sacrificed His life on the cross. And what food He gives them! To what pastures He leads them! With His own Flesh, with His own Blood, with His entire self, does He nourish them at the holy table, in the holy Eucharist! ‘To unite Himself thus with us, and to make Himself one with us! What love!’ exclaims Saint John Chrysostom.

AND WHEN ONE SHEEP GOES ASTRAY…

And when one of His sheep chances to go astray, what does our good Shepherd Jesus do then? He seeks the lost sheep, He goes after it, He ceases not from seeking and running until He has found it again.

With what joy does He place it upon His shoulders to carry it back to the Fold, and with what eagerness does He call together His friends and neighbours, that is to say the angels and the saints! – ‘Come,’ He says to them, ‘rejoice with Me, for I have found the sheep that was lost!'”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 
 

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15th SEPTEMBER, GOSPEL READING (LUKE 15:1-32)

FORGIVENESS

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. “This man,” they said, “welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he spoke this parable to them: “What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to go after the missing one until 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? ‘Rejoice with me,’ he would say, ‘I have found the sheep that was lost.’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men 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? ‘Rejoice with me,’ she would say, ‘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.”

Jesus also said: “A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery. When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine. So he left the place and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. And they began to celebrate. Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. ‘Your brother has come,’ replied the servant, ‘and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got. him back safe and sound.’ He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.’ The father said, ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it is only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.'”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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A PRAYER FOR THE SALVATION OF ALL MEN

Imprimatur: + Albert G. Meyer, Archb. of Milwaukee, Nov. 7, 1956

O Lord Jesus Christ, Lover and Saviour of souls, who didst choose to die for all men and whose Sacred Heart yearns that no soul may perish, but that all may come to the knowledge of thy truth, grant, I beseech thee, the salvation of all mankind. Have pity on all Catholics, that they may be true to thy Faith, steadfast in its practice, faithful to their duties, holy in their lives and happy in their deaths.

Have mercy on all those disinherited children of God who find themselves in the Christian denominations which are separated from thy One True Church. Grant them the light to see and the strength to embrace the fullness of thy truth. Encourage them to read and study, and help me to find the means of giving to many of them good Catholic books and of bringing them to instructions. Have mercy, O my God, on the great sad multitude of our fellow countrymen who wander like lost sheep, far from true Christian teaching. Multiply the number of thy priests, stir up the zeal of thy laity, so that all thy wandering children may be brought to the knowledge and the love of thy full truth. Amen.

 

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PRAYER FOR WHEN WE ARE LOST AND OVERBURDENED IN LIFE

O Lord, show Your mercy to me, and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded, and left half-dead: O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray: O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there. Amen.

 

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