The tax collectors and sinners all came to listen to Jesus.
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain: "Look, this man welcomes sinners and even eats with them."
Then Jesus told them this story:
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep but loses one of them. Then he will leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the open field and go out and look for the lost sheep until he finds it.
And when he finds it, he happily puts it on his shoulders
and goes home. He calls to his friends and neighbors and says, 'Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep.'
In the same way, I tell you there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes his heart and life, than over ninety-nine good people who don't need to change.
"Suppose a woman has ten silver coins, but loses one. She will light a lamp, sweep the house, and look carefully for the coin until she finds it.
And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say, 'Be happy with me because I have found the coin that I lost.'
In the same way, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner changes his heart and life."
Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons.
The younger son said to his father, 'Give me my share of the property.' So the father divided the property between his two sons.
Then the younger son gathered up all that was his and traveled far away to another country. There he wasted his money in foolish living.
After he had spent everything, a time came when there was no food anywhere in the country, and the son was poor and hungry.
So he got a job with one of the citizens there who sent the son into the fields to feed pigs.
The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
When he realized what he was doing, he thought, 'All of my father's servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dying with hunger.
I will leave and return to my father and say to him, "Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but let me be like one of your servants."'
So the son left and went to his father. "While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him.
The son said, 'Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
But the father said to his servants, 'Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate.
My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!' So they began to celebrate.
"The older son was in the field, and as he came closer to the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.
So he called to one of the servants and asked what all this meant.
The servant said, 'Your brother has come back, and your father killed the fat calf, because your brother came home safely.'
The older son was angry and would not go in to the feast. So his father went out and begged him to come in.
But the older son said to his father, 'I have served you like a slave for many years and have always obeyed your commands. But you never gave me even a young goat to have at a feast with my friends.
But your other son, who wasted all your money on prostitutes, comes home, and you kill the fat calf for him!'
The father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
We had to celebrate and be happy because your brother was dead, but now he is alive. He was lost, but now he is found.'"