1 The tax-gatherers and the outcasts were all drawing near to Jesus to listen to him;
2 but the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law found fault.
‘This man always welcomes outcasts, and takes meals with them!’ they complained.
3 So Jesus told them this parable –
4 ‘Who among you who has a hundred sheep, and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine out in the open country, and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
5 And, when he has found it, he puts in on his shoulders rejoicing;
6 and, on reaching home, he calls his friends and his neighbours together, and says “Come and rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.”
7 So, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one outcast who repents, than over ninety-nine religious people, who have no need to repent.
8 Or again, what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?
9 And, when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says “Come and rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I lost.”
10 So, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of God’s angels over one outcast who repents.’
11 Then Jesus continued, ‘A man had two sons;
12 and the younger of them said to his father “Father, give me my share of the inheritance.” So the father divided the property between them.
13 A few days later the younger son got together all that he had, and went away into a distant land; and there he squandered his inheritance by leading a dissolute life.
14 After he has spent all that he had, there was a severe famine through all that country, and he began to be in actual want.
15 So he went and engaged himself to one of the people of that country, who sent him into his fields to tend pigs.
16 He even longed to satisfy his hunger with the bean-pods on which the pigs were feeding; and no one gave him anything.
17 But, when he came to himself, he said “How many of my father’s hired servants have more bread than they can eat, while here am I starving to death!
18 I will get up and go to my father, and say to him ‘Father, I sinned against heaven and against you;
19 I am no longer fit to be called your son; make me one of your hired servants.’”
20 And he got up and went to his father. But, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was deeply moved; he ran and threw his arms round his neck and kissed him.
21 “Father,” the son said, “I sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer fit to be called your son; make me one of your hired servants.”
22 But the father turned to his servants and said “Be quick and fetch a robe – the very best – and put it on him; give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet;
23 and bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry;
24 for here is my son who was dead, and is alive again, was lost, and is found.” So they began making merry.
25 Meanwhile the elder son was out in the fields; but, on coming home, when he got near the house, he heard music and dancing,
26 and he called one of the servants and asked what it all meant.
27 “Your brother has come back,” the servant told him, “and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has him back safe and sound.”
28 This made him angry, and he would not go in. But his father came out and begged him to do so.
29 “No,” he said to his father, “look at all the years I have been serving you, without ever once disobeying you, and yet you have never given me even a young goat, so that I might have a merrymaking with my friends.
30 But, no sooner has this son of yours come, who has eaten up your property in the company of prostitutes, than you have killed the fattened calf for him.”
31 “Child,” the father answered, “you are always with me, and everything that I have is yours.
32 We could but make merry and rejoice, for here is your brother who was dead, and is alive; who was lost, and is found.”’