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Parable of the Tracking Device

baggage claim suitcase

Jaromir Chalabala | Shutterstock

Msgr. Gregory E.S. Malovetz - published on 08/22/23

Wherever I am lost, God will be found.

The flight was easy. The plane landed on time. I cleared customs quickly, and the baggage claim was closer than I thought. Not a misstep since I left Newark Airport and now found myself walking through Fiumicino Airport. I heard myself say aloud to no one, “This was easier than I expected.” 

I watched the baggage carousel deposit hundreds of suitcases and knapsacks. I felt dizzy as I watched endless black bags make the long circular journey. The items that crowded the carousel began to thin out, and still no sign of my black suitcase with a green ribbon tied on the handle. 

Tired from the journey, my worry increased when my cell phone could not complete a call to the friend waiting outside. In a busy airport filled with people racing by me, I felt alone.  And then I remembered: I had placed a tracking device in my luggage. The phone that couldn’t connect me to my waiting friend was able to indicate if my lost luggage was here in Rome, or some faraway exotic location. 

I think of those well-known parables from Scripture: the lost sheep, the lost son, the lost coin. No tracking device existed at the time to ensure they would be found. But there was and still is the message of Jesus found in those parables. God sees me. God knows where I am and can track the struggles and challenges of my heart. The parables teach that wherever I am lost, God will be found. Not only on a journey without missteps. But also when I am overwhelmed by the spinning carousel of life. 

With the help of the phone and an airline official, I found the bag. We walked toward the carousel, no longer spinning. An airport worker had left it there. On a carousel that had been filled with baggage, it sat alone. I greeted it like a long-lost friend. 

Loneliness is one of the great struggles of our time, a threat to both spiritual and mental health. Loneliness can cause us to lose our way. Call it the Parable of the Lost Luggage or the Parable of the Tracking Device. That day in the airport was a reminder: God finds me when others have given up the search. God sees me when no one else can or will.  And He stays with me for as long as it takes. 

~

This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

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The Human Being Fully Alive
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