I can imagine that the frantic search for a missing object is familiar to all of you. You reach for your wallet and find that pocket empty, you go to put on that watch that was given as a gift and it’s nowhere in sight, or your fingers grasp for “the good pen” and it’s gone. Then your heart starts beating a little faster, eyes scan the surroundings, hands patting every surface. As the search continues, frenzied energy sets in…When something goes missing we can begin to learn a bit about our levels of attachment.
While the monastic discipline of detachment is useful in freeing a person from inordinate and restrictive relationships to transient things for the sake of freedom and availability to God; when it comes to lost humankind, God is anything but detached. For God, the person who has wandered, gotten lost, forgotten their way home, is irreplaceable and must be found. In this regard, God is utterly attached and cannot abide simply to “let go.”
No, this is the great story of God’s prodigal love that sent Jesus, dwelling in light inaccessible in the fulness of God, down in humility through the lowliness of Mary’s womb, into the world that did not know him, thirty years hidden and yearning, then for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorned its shame, descended through death even into Hell.
“How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.
How holy is the night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord. How blessed is the night, when earth and heaven are joined and man is reconciled to God.”
The dawn of our resurrection rings with the Hosanna of heaven rejoicing in God’s saving grace.
These parables of lost things are also intrinsically parables of rejoicing. What the pharisees failed to see was that, we all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us have gone to our own way. And, you were sought out and brought home with all the joy that heaven can muster.
Can you remember that joy? Do you hear the echoes of the song? Recall the cheers of delight each time God turned your heart back home? It continues still and will persist for eternity.
May the contemplation of this joy be a healing balm when our hearts begin to grumble. May this joy renew in us faith, hope, and love for the parts of ourselves that continued to be redeemed. And may this joy be the light that we carry looking through all creation for the ones who are still lost so that our joy may be complete.
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