Over the next three days, while I am on spiritual retreat in the mountains with my son, I invite you consider the generosity of God as reflected in the three parables of Luke 15: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son. St. Ambrose (c. 337-397) will join you on your journey of reflection.
“St. Luke did not idly present three parables in a row. Buy the parables of the sheep that strayed and ways found, the coin which was lost and was found, and the son who was dead and came to life, we may cure our wounds, being encouraged by a threefold remedy.”
St. Ambrose in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture ed. Thomas Oden (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003) 243.
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:1-7
“Let us rejoice that the sheep that had strayed in Adam is lifted on Christ. The shoulders of Christ are the arms of the cross. There, I laid down my sins. I rested on the neck of that noble yoke. The sheep is one in kind, not in appearance, because we are all one body but many members. The Son of man came to seek and save what was lost.”
St. Ambrose in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, 244.