“If we rebuke our heart by a calm, mild remonstrance, with more compassion for it than passion against it and encourage it to make amendment, then repentance conceived in this way will sink far deeper and penetrate more effectually than fretful, angry, stormy repentance.” ― St. Francis de Sales: (1567 –1622: was a Bishop of Geneva)
Gospel Text: (LK 15:3-7)
Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes:
"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."
«Celebrate with me for I have found my lost sheep» (Lk 15:6). When we hear these words, we always tend to place ourselves in the group of the ninety nine upright who do not need to repent and observe “from the distance” how Jesus offers the salvation to a number of our acquaintances who happen to be much worse than us... Not at all!, Jesus' joy has a name and a face. Mine, yours, his..., because of our sins, we all are “the lost sheep”; so we better stop adding fuel to the flames of our arrogance, while we think we are fully converted.
In the times we live in, where the concept of sin is played down or is even denied, where the Sacrament of Penance is considered by some persons as something hard, sad and obsolete, the Lord, in his parable, speaks only of celebration, and He does not do it only here, but actually all throughout the Gospels. Zaccheus, after having been forgiven, invites Jesus to eat to celebrate it (cf. Lk 19:1-9); the prodigal's father forgives him and offers a party for his return (cf. Lk 15,11-32), and the Good Shepherd rejoices for his found lamb that had wandered off the trail.