In today’s parable, the offence is to be found in the blindingly obvious answer to the question Jesus sets. The application is then very sharp: those who seemingly never have experienced sin and conversion (who are they?) are quick to judge others who come to God through failure and fracture. It is like the ninety-nine who have no need of conversion—we may doubt that they ever really existed! A certain complacency can mark any settled religious group and if we add to that self-righteousness, then the mix is explosive and we are far from the Gospel as preached by Jesus.
Blessed are they who know their need of God (Mt 5:3). May we recognise ourselves as part of the community of the needy and show the compassion of Jesus to all without distinction.
K O’Mahony OSA