Here, Jesus is teaching us to rejoice at the restoration of the one to the community of the many. As in the analogous parables of the lost coin and the prodigal son, finding the lost sheep and its subsequent restoration to the flock bring joy to the shepherd and are a cause for celebration. The tension and worry of the shepherd stemming from the sheep’s absence have been resolved. Also, the sinner who repents is restored to God, which causes great joy in the community of heaven.

We all find ourselves as both the lost sheep and the flock at different moments in our lives. It is important to remember that personal repentance restores our relationship with God and brings us back into the flock through Jesus. It is a cause for celebration and great joy, both individually and as a community.

Liliana Mamani Condori is a Peruvian lawyer pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies at Boston College. Sam Hay is finishing his MA in Theology and Ministry at B.C., and currently works for its School of Education.