Monday, July 4, 2011

Looking for my Father

This morning I arrived at Mass and immediately saw my dad’s truck in the parking lot. He always parks in the same place because he arrives early! He usually doesn’t attend daily Mass at the parish we share, because another parish has an earlier Mass, and he likes early.

When I walked in, I didn’t see him sitting in the same place he always sits. Our priest tries to get people to move out of their “regular” seat, and it works maybe once. After that we’re like stubborn children in the desert wandering back to our comfortable places. My dad sits in one of the back pews, and I sit to his right. But he wasn’t there. That’s not unusual because sometimes before Mass he will be in the side chapel praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I always stop there before Mass for a brief moment myself, but I didn’t recall seeing him there. So I started wandering around. When I’d say I’m looking for my dad, the response was, “Maybe he is in the restroom.” I chatted with a sweet couple, and they showed me a photo of their son-in-law who is serving in one of our military branches. After that I returned to the chapel to see if maybe I missed my dad. Our priest was coming out of the chapel, and I said, “I’m looking for my dad.” He looked through the glass in the cry room and said, “There is your dad. He’s sitting about five rows from the front. Can you believe it?” I said, “No wonder I couldn’t find him!”

When I reached my dad, I asked, “What are you doing here? I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” Two ladies sitting behind him were laughing. My dad chuckled too. I crawled pass him and took my place next to him.

After Mass my dad and our priest had a good laugh about this “moving” episode. On the way home, it became a reflection for me. It started by replacing the thought of my dad with the thought of God our Father. The image of our priest pointing me towards my dad became him pointing us to God. My little trip around the church looking for him became our journey towards God and those we meet along the way. However, the most important point was looking for my dad in the place I expected him to be. Unlike my dad, God doesn’t change places. But we find ourselves looking for Him sometimes in the same place or places we expect to find Him. My lesson for today is not to assume, and to keep searching. If we continually look for our Father we will see Him more. God is present in every space we occupy. So why do we look for Him to only be in the same place in our lives and hearts? And most of all, why are we surprised to find Him in the places we least expect?


Lord, we pray you will open our eyes and hearts to you, no matter where we find ourselves! Amen