|Chapter 242||The Great Gospel of John, Book 6|
Three parables on the mercy of God. The secret of love
(Lk. 15:5) and having found it, he lays it upon his own shoulders, rejoicing;
(Lk. 15:6) and being come to the house, calls together the friends and the neighbours, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.
1. (The Lord) "Where among you is a person, who has one-hundred, and if he has lost one of them, that he not immediately leave the ninety-nine in the desert and goes back to search for the lost for as long until he has found it, and if he has found it, he with joy places it on his shoulders? And if he arrives back home, he will invite his neighbours and tell them: 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep, which was lost and thus I'm giving a feast!'
(Lk. 15:7) I say unto you, that thus there shall be joy in heaven for one repenting sinner, [more] than for ninety and nine righteous who have no need of repentance.
2. And I say to you: There will also be more joy about one sinner who was lost, if he seriously bettered himself, than about the ninety-nine righteous who never needed penance!
(Lk. 15:8) Or, what woman having ten drachmas, if she lose one drachma, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek carefully till she find it?
(Lk. 15:9) and having found it she calls together the friends and neighbours, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.
3. Or where is the woman who has ten groschen and loses one of them, and would not immediately ignite a light, sweeps the whole house and searches with all diligence, until she has found the lost groschen? And once the woman has found the lost groschen, will she not call together her friends and neighbours and say: 'Rejoice with me; for I have found my groschen which I had lost!'?
(Lk. 15:10) Thus, I say unto you, there is joy before the angels of God for one repenting sinner.
4. And I say to you: There also will be a great joy in heaven among the angels of God about one sinner who was lost, but could be found again by a true and serious penance!'
(Lk. 15:11) And he said, A certain man had two sons;
(Lk. 15:12) and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give to me the share of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided to them what he was possessed of.
5. And listen further to a still very meaningful parable! There was a very respectable and very, very rich person who had two sons. And the youngest son went to the father and said to him: 'Give me the share or the value of my goods which is my inheritance; because I want to move away and make my fortune in the world!' And the father divided the goods of the sons and gave to the younger his share.
(Lk. 15:13) And after not many days the younger son gathering all together went away into a country a long way off, and there dissipated his property, living in debauchery.
(Lk. 15:14) But when he had spent all there arose a violent famine throughout that country, and he began to be in want.
(Lk. 15:15) And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
(Lk. 15:16) And he longed to fill his belly with the husks which the swine were eating; and no one gave to him.
6. And soon afterwards the younger gathered all his belongings and moved far away from country to country. And when he found a place which his senses liked, he squandered his money. And when soon he used up all his possessions, the country was struck by high inflation and he started to suffer. Thereupon he went to a citizen of the same country who send him into the field to look after his swine. When looking after the swine for a few days, he became very hungry and he desired to fill his stomach with the draff which the swine used to eat, but nobody gave it to him.
(Lk. 15:17) And coming to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have abundance of bread, and *I* perish here by famine.
(Lk. 15:18) I will rise up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee;
(Lk. 15:19) I am no longer worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
7. Since he suffered a lot and in the highest need had only roots and gras to eat, he finally turned into himself and said in his thoughts: 'How many day workers does my father has at home, who have bread in abundance and I perish here because of hunger! I want to get ready and move back to my father and say to him: 'Father I have sinned before you in heaven!' I'm not worth it to be your son anymore; just make me one of your lowest day workers!'
(Lk. 15:20) And he rose up and went to his own father. But while he was yet a long way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell upon his neck, and covered him with kisses.
(Lk. 15:21) And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee; I am no longer worthy to be called thy son.
(Lk. 15:22) But the father said to his bondmen, Bring out the best robe and clothe him in [it], and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;
(Lk. 15:23) and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry:
(Lk. 15:24) for this my son was dead and has come to life, was lost and has been found. And they began to make merry.
8. And thus the son travelled back to his father. But when he still was far away. The father already saw the son, and he felt sorry for him. He thus ran towards him with open arms and put his arms around his neck and kissed him. But the son said to the father: 'Father I have sinned in heaven before you; I'm not worthy to be called your son anymore!' But the father said to his servants: 'Bring immediately the best clothe and dress him and put a ring on his finger and put him shoes on! And bring a fattened calf and slaughter it and let us eat and be happy! For this my son was dead and has become alive again, he was lost and found back again! Thus let us sing and be happy!'
(Lk. 15:25) And his elder son was in the field; and as, coming [up], he drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
(Lk. 15:26) And having called one of the servants, he inquired what these things might be.
(Lk. 15:27) And he said to him, Thy brother is come, and thy father has killed the fatted calf because he has received him safe and well.
(Lk. 15:28) But he became angry and would not go in. And his father went out and besought him.
(Lk. 15:29) But he answering said to his father, Behold, so many years I serve thee, and never have I transgressed a commandment of thine; and to me hast thou never given a kid that I might make merry with my friends:
(Lk. 15:30) but when this thy son, who has devoured thy substance with harlots, is come, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
(Lk. 15:31) But he said to him, Child, *thou* art ever with me, and all that is mine is thine.
(Lk. 15:32) But it was right to make merry and rejoice, because this thy brother was dead and has come to life again, and was lost and has been found.
9. However the oldest son was in the field and when he came home, he heard singing and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. And the servant said to him: 'Your brother has returned, and you father has slaughtered a fattened calf for him, since he found back his lost son.' Thereupon the oldest son became enraged and didn't wanted to join. But the father went outside and asked him for it. And the eldest son answered and said to his father: 'See, for so many years I have served you and have never transgressed your commandments, but you never have given me only one goat, so that I could be rejoicing with my friends! Now that this your son has come back, who has squandered his possessions with whores, you have slaughtered for him a fattened calf!' 'My son, you are always with me', spoke the father, 'and everything which is mine, is also yours!' Therefore you should be happy; since this your brother was dead and has become alive again, and he was lost and found again!' Then also the elder brother went in and was very happy about the younger brother.
10. See, these parables tell you everything, which those need who in their hearts in their love resemble the Father in heaven; who only is stuck in wisdom, do not feel the great need of love of the Father.
11. David, the man after the heart of God, also had two sons whom he loved very much. Although he was pursued by Absalom and he (David) opposed him with all power to defeat him, what premium would he not have paid to him who could bring back his beloved son alive! Salomo was wisdom himself and was always around David; but David's love and inclination was towards Absalom.
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