August 2, 2019 (Catholic Family News) — Every year on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, which fell on June 30 this year, the faithful who attend the traditional Roman Mass hear a powerful duo of readings from Holy Scripture.
The Epistle, 1 Peter 5:6–11, focuses our attention on the reality of spiritual warfare, with the Prince of the Apostles exhorting us, “Be sober and watch, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world.” In short, “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7:1) — a battle we must engage with “the armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, 13) — and precious souls are at stake, a message which is at the heart of the Gospel for the day.
In Luke 15:1–10, which immediately precedes the famous prodigal son parable (Luke 15:11–32), Our Lord is confronted by “the Pharisees and the scribes” who are repulsed at the sight of “publicans and sinners” approaching Him and listen to His preaching. “This man receiveth sinners,” they murmur, “and eateth with them.” As the Good Shepherd, Our Lord replies:
What man of you that hath an hundred sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after that which was lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing? And coming home, call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. (Luke 15:4-7)….