Being lost can be a frightful experience for a child. Imagine the tears and fears — the frantic running around in circles when a child cannot find her mother.
Similarly, we can understand the anxiety and worries that parents go through when they find out that their children are lost and trapped as had happened three years ago on 23 June, 2018. Twelve boys went exploring in Thailand's Chiang Rai province with their football coach — and ended up trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave. The rainy season had made it impossible for them to trace their way back to the entrance of the cave. What turned out to be an hour’s adventure to celebrate the birthday of one of the boys, became a nightmare for two weeks as the whole world’s attention riveted on the rescue effort.
Placed in their shoes, it is not difficult to ask the question: “Who will come and save us?” In their case, it was almost the whole world.
“All mankind will see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6)
In our gospel reading for the second week of Advent, we are told, “All mankind will see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). God will spare no efforts and will not overlook any means to come and save us. Just as we prepare for the visit of a King or a dignitary by making the road straight and his path smooth, God will even have the “valley filled in... every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened” in order to come to our rescue.
It is amazing how God goes out of his way to attend to us. He drops everything and focuses on the task at hand. By doing this, God is telling us that we are important and worthy in his eyes. We are his beloved sons and daughters!
Hence, no one is lost. No stone unturned and no sinner is cast aside. Pope Francis summed it up well in these words to his audience in St Peter’s Square on 20th September 2020, in his reflection on the day’s gospel reading from St Matthew, in which Jesus tells the parable of the landowner who hired labourers to work in his vineyard: “We understand that Jesus is not talking about work and just wages, which is another problem, but about the Kingdom of God and the goodness of the heavenly Father who continually comes out to invite and pays the maximum to everyone. God is constantly searching for us because he wants no one to be excluded from his design of love."
This is how we are to prepare in confidence for the coming of our Saviour. We are asked to simply do three things: to pray in faith, to fervently hope and to gladly rejoice when we are found and rescued.
FR COLIN TAN, SJ