It can be scary. I remember my father in his early 80’s arriving home two hours late for dinner. Mom was sick with worry. Dad arrived white as a ghost, almost trembling.
“WHERE have you been?!” “I was lost.” Dad said. He’d had a mild stroke while driving the car. A city that he knew like the back of his hand suddenly lost all recognition. “Where am I?” Nothing looked familiar. He could have been in Buenos Aires for all he knew.
Slowly the confusion passed. Buildings and street signs started to communicate where he was and finally he’d found his way home! There’s a sicky feeling that happens when we’re lost. “I’m far from home and I’m feeling like a stranger to myself.”
So what’s the point? Jesus has a soft spot for people who have lost their way, wandered off to some place of darkness or despair. The religious leaders insisted that these people be shunned until they found their way back. “When I see you in church each Sunday . . that will prove you’ve come to your senses and your life is now righteous.”
Jesus says “No. These are the ones I’ve come for.” He searches the highways and byways for us. Like a parent looking for their wandering child, Christ seeks out those who are lost. He sends people of faith to reach out.
What does this search look like? Dinner. Conversation. Wine. Laughter. Stories. Friendship. Not church. Not yet.
Does this speak about our children and grandchildren who have seemingly walked away from the faith? Will Christ find my lost child? Yes. But probably not the way you would imagine.
Something new has to happen. Something beautiful. Something that on the surface has nothing to do with “Church”, or priests, or going to mass and confession.
Sometimes we have to meet Christ on the street or in the pub, or a movie, or a conversation with your closest friends. It brings an experience that reminds us of a “home” we have always longed for, a moment that touches us with its beauty, power and humanity.
Like Sleeping Beauty, a person is touched by a goodness and truth that reminds them of their true home. It’s called love. And this love comes from Christ. And all who abide in this love are children of God.
Parents. Grandparents. You have this love in you. Be confident of it. Give it to your young ones lavishly, humorously, gently . . . then, when you are alone . . . beg Jesus to add the church thing!
Remember he’s out on the heath looking for them. He’s the Good Shepherd. This Holy Week our shepherd will lay down his life for all of us . . . we’re all lost in some way. Please join us for the Holy Triduum beginning Thursday evening and continuing Good Friday (3pm), Holy Saturday (8pm), and culminating with the great Feast of Easter Sunday.
God is looking for you. Let yourself be found.