Padre Charles Ravert

(Leer en Español)

Pax et Bonum+Paz y Todo lo Bueno

I lost my keys the other day. I knew they were somewhere in the Rectory but I couldn’t find them. I prayed to St. Anthony but he must have still been on Christmas vacation because he wasn’t much help!

I retraced my steps throughout the house and office. I went through the church and sacristy. No where to be found! I was frustrated and getting annoyed.

I was annoyed with myself for misplacing the keys and frustrated because I needed them to get in and out of my house, drive my car, open and lock the church. Basically, I need them to do everything!

It was frustrating to be so limited. I felt I was walking in circles, checking the same places over and over.

Finally, I gave up for a little while, went on with my day, and then called my mom. I told her about the search for the keys and she told me the same thing she always says when something is lost, “You’ll find it where you least expect it!” I shook my head in obedient agreement but I was still frustrated and annoyed.

I think we’ve all been there. We’ve lost something important, we have a general idea where it is, but when we check the usual places we frequent the item is nowhere to be found.

After I spoke to my mom, I was contemplating going on another search. I was thinking about where I had not looked yet and when I started wandering around I bumped into my Nativity scene. No, the keys weren’t in the Nativity, but the Three Kings were! It made me chuckle as I thought, “Were you guys this frustrated looking for the King of the Jews?”

I really wonder if they got annoyed and frustrated on their journey. They must have, right? It was a long journey, without GPS, riding a camel, in the desert and then they wound up in the wrong place at first. That’s a recipe for frustration.

That thought helped me feel a little better about searching for my keys. But I still had to find them. I looked in all usual places for what felt like the thousandth time.

The Three Kings did the same thing. They looked for the newborn King at the palace first. They went to King Herod’s palace and asked to meet the new baby. Herod was confused. No babies in his castle! So they got some advice to look in the last place they would’ve searched: Bethlehem.

The Three Kings must have talked to my mom because that was the same advice she had just given me, “Look for the keys where you’d least expect to find them” — “Look for the newborn King where you’d least expect find him.”

Eventually I found my keys on a shelf in a utility closet next to a mop and some bleach. This is the last place I’d expect to find them.

When you’re looking for something lost, the above is good advice. It was good advice for the Three Kings when they were searching for the newborn King of the Jews. Maybe it will be good advice for you when you’re searching for meaning, purpose, or even for Jesus himself! Look where you’d least expect it.

Jesus found disciples and friends where the world least expected God to look amongst the poor, the prostitutes, the thieves, and lepers.

Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone to find the answers you seek.

They might just be where you’d least expect them to be.

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Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.