What woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she had found it? And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, I have found the drachma I lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.
Luke 14: 9-10 (NJB)
I was reflecting on this Gospel passage earlier today trying to think of something to write for this weekly reflection. I was racking my brain attempting to think of something I had lost that I truly rejoiced upon finding, something so special to me that I would have given just about anything to get it back.
Of course, I have lost things. Over the years I have lost more than one piece of jewelry. This is why, when I do wear jewelry, it tends to be the inexpensive kind! Just a couple weeks ago, I lost my journal at the grocery store. There is a small café there that my husband and I sometimes stop for a while in to rest and read while our children play at the “kids club” that the store generously provides. That particular week had been very busy and I hadn’t had time to write in my journal so I brought it along knowing I would have the opportunity. Unfortunately, my husband forgot to take it out of the cart when he was unloading the groceries into the car. When I realized it had been forgotten an hour later, I went racing back to the store where thankfully someone had turned it in to lost and found. I truly had a pit in my stomach when I realized it was missing. I felt like I was about to lose my memories of the past year. I felt great relief when it was back safely in my possession and I learned never to bring my journal to the grocery store again. But did I rejoice? No, not really.
Today, however, I realized something was lost that truly, if I could find it, I would be jumping for joy. As a first-grade student, my son David has homework every night. His teacher generously provided him with a “Take-Home” folder, laminated with his name on it and special pockets for work to stay at home and work to be brought back with sheets in the middle for writing his homework assignments on. I have somehow managed to lose that folder. I had it on Friday when he came home from school as I looked over what needed to be done. I thought I had put it back in his backpack, but when I looked there today to sign that the required assignment had been completed, it was nowhere to be found.
I tore the house apart looking for it. I searched through the trash and recyclables in case it had been inadvertently picked up with something else. I prayed to God and St. Anthony to no avail. This folder has just disappeared. I feel horrible. It is not that it has any great intrinsic value, but it wasn’t mine to lose. It was David’s and I don’t want him to get in trouble because of something that is my fault. I don’t want to get in trouble with his teacher either. I hate getting in trouble with teachers. I once faked being ill in fifth grade because I had forgotten to do one part of my homework (Sorry, Sr. Edna!). So, I have written a note to his teacher, explaining that the missing folder is, in fact, my fault, and gave her three dollars to cover the cost of the folder. I hope that she is forgiving and doesn’t punish David for my mistake.
So, this Gospel does resonate with me today. This folder is something so inconsequential in the big scheme of things, yet I was on the verge of tears about losing it and would be so very thankful if it was found. How much greater is heaven’s joy when a soul that was lost comes back to God!