“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
Jesus said to us in our Gospel passage: “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” In other words, the best gift you can ever give to God is to bring a sinner back to him.
If you can succeed in making a person repent, renounce his former ways, and start living righteously, then I tell you there would be a lot of dancing in heaven because of you just as a man would dance when he finds a lost sheep.
The task of winning sinners to God is such a delicate one. It involves in the words of St. Paul “being all things to all men.” The saying is true that to kill a rat, you must think like a rat. In the same way, to win a sinner to repentance, you must penetrate their world. This is exactly what Jesus did. He risked his reputation several times (to the extent that he was nicknamed a glutton) just to save the lost souls.
A lot of us are like those who didn’t understand what Jesus was doing. We are masters of complaint, professional critics, nothing passes us without receiving our stern judgment. In the end, we never move an inch to do what is right ourselves. Let us repent.
St. Paul says, “None of us lives for himself and none of us dies for himself…” No man is an island. This world is a small village. Live in a manner that anyone who encounters you will consider himself or herself lucky to have ever met you.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, grant that I may learn to treat people with respect rather than condemnation. Amen.
Bible Study: Romans 14:7-12, Ps. 27:1,4,13-14, Luke 15:1-10).