Occasions for celebration
1All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. 2The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Jesus told them this parable: 4“Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. 6When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ 7In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
8“Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? 9When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.”
11Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. 12The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them. 13Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.
14 “When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. 15He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. 17When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! 18I will get up and go to my father, and say to him,“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.”’ 20So he got up and went to his father.
“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. 21Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting 24because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
25“Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. 26He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. 27The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ 28Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. 29He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’”