The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The joy for the salvation of one only sinner
So to them he addressed this parable. “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 neighbours 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. Lk 15,3-7
In this image of the shepherd who returns to the fold with his sheep over the shoulders, being happy to have find it, it seems to be thereby something excessive. Moreover it appears in contrast with the idea of the global salvation of the world which, when reading the holy Scriptures, it is easy to capture: mostly because it is possible to realize that, in the majority of the cases, the strengths of the evil often win. Therefore we are oriented to think that our God will win the war, and even he has already won it, but he is not excessively worried if he loses some battle. If this is the idea which we have on the Salvation plan, the parable of the lost sheep denies it totally. The Lord assigns to each single person the same importance than to an entire crowd: “Whoever causes one of these little ones …. it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18,6); and furthermore: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25,40). On the contrary, when reading the pages of the Gospels, it really seems that for Jesus the sentiment of the joy is related to the attention to one only person better than to an entire crowd. In the global pastoral, in fact, the joy is almost dispersed, meanwhile it reaches its top in the service and in the cure of one only person. The reason has to be searched in the fact that the sentiment of the joy is exalted in the mutualism: we are happy if we can do something good to one only person and make her joyful. If we have with her a personal relation and we touch by our hand her joy, also our happiness reaches more elevated tops: it is the love for the single which procure the highest joy. On Sunday we are happy when our sons come for the lunch to our house and allow us to prepare a table for thirty persons, but our joy is greater if we can be individually useful to each of them, also if we have given only one single advice. If we want to correctly ponder, the ultimate reason of the joy, generated by the service and the cure of one only person, is the actualization of the love, which becomes concrete in the satisfaction of the needs of the life. The sentiment of the love is always personal: the love is for the man, not for the humanity: it is for the poor, not for the poorness; it is for the child, not for the childhood.