Earlier this week, as we celebrated All Saints Day on Sunday and All Souls Day on Monday. I was thinking about the landmarks on our journey. I believe these two days provide us with a tremendous authentic sense of who we are. This is so necessary because in our day-to-day life we tend to get so busy with the details that we forget the truth. Landmarks are specific elements which aid us in navigation and when we spot them they confirm that the navigation of our path is accurate. Isn’t that the role of honoring the saints in our lives. In honoring them, don’t we find ourselves pondering their paths and reaffirming the accuracy of our navigation? On All Souls Day as we remember the dead, do we not ponder our mortality and understand that our future must take us on this path as well? These are some pretty bold landmarks for our spiritual journey.
I’m very much reminded of this as I read Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul informs us that living for ourselves is not going to get us anywhere except lost. If we live, we live for the Lord. If we die we die for the Lord. Our journey, as Paul reminds us is living and dying with the Lord and for the Lord. That is our journey. Whatever takes us off this path leads us to being lost. Is being lost necessarily a bad thing?
Well, Luke shows us that the state of being lost reveals something of the kingdom. This Fifteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel is about being lost and being found. And Luke will set it up so that Jesus tells three parables of something which gets lost and then later that something which was lost is then found. The first parable is about a man who loses a sheep. The second parable is about a woman who loses a coin. And the third parable is about a father who loses a son. And in each scenario, the owner finds what he/she has lost. Each of these three parables is about losing something and then finding something. Yet when that which was lost is found, there is another element in the equation. In each of these three parables, the finding of that which was lost always introduces the cause to rejoice, the desire to celebrate and the need to tell others. And this is precisely what Luke is trying to suggest that the Kingdom of God represents. Moreover, Jesus is speaking to Pharisees who most likely happen to be fathers themselves. He is trying to give them a new landmark to understand their path. Will they rejoice or will they cling to their self-righteousness? This is the question Luke leaves us with as the 15th chapter concludes.
Landmarks on our journey assure us our navigation is accurate. Yet Luke believes that the rejoicing which happens by finding that which is lost is kingdom energy. How is your ability to rejoice this day. And can you rejoice at somebody else’s favor?
Fr. David Colhour, C.P. is on the staff at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, California.