I say to you: there is joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.
Verse 10. Before the angels. By this it is plain that the spirits in heaven have a concern for us below, and a joy at our repentance, and consequently a knowledge of it. Ch.
8. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9. And when she has found it, she calls her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10. Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.
CHRYS. By the preceding parable, in which the race of mankind was spoken of as a wandering sheep, we were shown to be the creatures of the most high God, who has made us, and not we ourselves, and we are the sheep of his pasture. But now is added a second parable, in which the race of man is compared to a piece of silver which was lost, by which he shows that we were made according to the royal likeness and image, that is to say, of the most high God. For the piece of silver is a coin having the impress of the king’s image, as it is said, Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one, &c.
GREG. He who is signified by the shepherd, is also by the woman. For it is God Himself, God and the wisdom of God, but the Lord has formed the nature of angels and men to know Him, and has created them after His likeness. The woman then had ten pieces of silver, because there are nine orders of angels, but that the number of the elect might be filled up, man the tenth was created.
AUG. Or by the nine pieces of silver, as by the ninety and nine sheep, He represents those who trusting in themselves, prefer themselves to sinners returning to salvation. For there is one wanting to nine to make it ten, and to ninety-nine to make it a hundred. To that One He ordains all who are reconciled by repentance.
GREG. And because there is an image impressed on the piece of silver, the woman lost the piece of silver when man (who was created after the image of God) by sinning departed from the likeness of his Creator. And this is what is added, y she lose one piece, does she not light a candle. The women lighted a candle because the wisdom of God appeared in man. For the candle is a light in an earthen vessel, but the light in an earthen vessel is the Godhead in the flesh. But the candle being lit, it follows, And disturbs the house. Because verily no sooner had his Divinity shone forth through the flesh, than all our consciences were appalled. Which word of disturbance differs not from that which is read in other manuscripts, sweeps, because the corrupt mind if it be not first overthrown through fear, is not cleansed from its habitual faults. But when the house is broken up, the piece of silver is found, for it follows, And seeks diligently till she find it; for truly when the conscience of man is disturbed, the likeness of the Creator is restored in man.
GREG NAZ. But the piece of silver being found, He makes the heavenly powers partakers of the joy whom He made the ministers of His dispensation, and so it follows, And when she had found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors.
GREG. For the heavenly powers are nigh to Divine wisdom, inasmuch as they approach Him through the grace of continual vision.
THEOPHYL. Either they are friends as performing His will, but neighbors as being spiritual; or perhaps His friends are all the heavenly powers, but His neighbors those that come near to Him, as Thrones, Cherubims, and Seraphims.
GREG NYSS. Or else; this I suppose is what our Lord sets before us in the search after the lost piece of silver, that no advantage attaches to us from the external virtues which He calls pieces of silver, although all of them be ours, as long as that one is lacking to the widowed soul, by which in truth it obtains the brightness of the Divine image. Wherefore He first bids us light a candle, that is to say, the divine word which brings hidden things to light, or perhaps the torch of repentance. But in his own house, that is, in himself and his own conscience, must a man seer; for the lost piece of silver, that is, the royal image, which is not entirely defaced, but is hid under the dirt, which signifies its corruption of the flesh, and this being diligently wiped away, that is, washed out by a well-spent life, that which was sought for shines forth. Therefore ought she who has found it to rejoice, and to call to partake of her joy the neighbors, (that is, the companion virtues,) reason, desire, and anger, and whatever powers are observed round the soul, which she teaches to rejoice in the Lord. Then concluding the parable, He adds, There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repents.
GREG. To work repentance is to mourn over past sins, and not to commit things to be mourned over. For he who weeps over some things so as yet to commit others, still knows not how to work repentance, or is a hypocrite; he must also reflect that by so doing he satisfies not his Creator, since he who had done what was forbidden, must cut off himself even from what is lawful, and so should blame himself in the least things who remembers that he has offended in the greatest.