Careless people are the focus of attention for the next couple of days.
Jesus tells three very famous parables which seem to be initiated by the complaints of the pharisees about the disreputable people that were hanging around him.
Jesus begins to tell a story about a shepherd who wasn't very good at his job. Or so it seems - because the man had 100 sheep to look after and had done pretty well. He had brought 99 through the winter safe and sound, and there was just one that have gone astray.
And yet he left the 99 untended and went off in search of the one that was missing.
Fortunately he found it, and brought it home with great rejoicing.
This is a logical, it isn't rational, and it certainly isn't good economics. Why risk 99 for the sake of one?
But then it's not exactly good theology either to risk offending the righteous in order to win the hearts of one or two unrighteous people.
But if Jesus can't be the Messiah of all he can't be the Messiah at all, and so he is more concerned about the outcasts than it is about the "in casts."
One theme unites these three happy parables and it is the theme of rejoicing. There is joy as a shepherd brings home his lost sheep; there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.