I lost a windbreaker a while ago. I really have no idea what happened to it. I have retraced my steps, I have checked all of the places I thought it could be. I do not remember travelling anywhere between the last time I remember having it and when I realized it was lost. I simply have no clue where it is. I have resigned myself that I will probably not see this windbreaker again. I obviously left it somewhere and it is gone.
Today’s gospel describes people who have lost something. They turn things upside down until they find it. And when they do they are happy. I miss my windbreaker, but I also have to confess that I did not really look as long as the people in the gospel looked for what they lost.
And none of us looked as long for lost items as God looks for us when we are lost. God seeks us out, invites us back, longs for us to return to God. We have a God who finds great joy in the return of a sinner. More joy in fact over one repentent sinner, than over ninety-nine people who have no need of repentence.
How much effort do we put in to coming back to God when we sin? Do we seek to provide a warm welcome to those who come to Mass here in this Church when we do not know them? The person we do not know might very well be the person who has just been found by God, and brought back.
Not only should we consider be welcoming in the sense of warmly reaching out to those we do not know, but we should also show forth the witness of our Christian life. Do we express the joy of gospel life? Are we appropriately willing to share something personal about our faith so that others feel comfortable with us?
For as a Catholic, there is no such thing as an individual faith entirely. It is not to say that we do not need to engage our heart in seeking a deeper relationship with God, but at its core to be a Catholic is to be part of a community. We are called to reach out to support each other, we are called to evangelize, we are called to go forth because we have found something that is so wonderful we cannot help but share it.
Paul reinforces this in the first reading. We are the witness, we are the sign of a convicted life with God, or we show forth a lack of sincereity that can cause people to run the other way from the Gospel. You are the witness and so am I. So let’s be sure to show forth the authentic faith God desires in our hearts.