One never knows when one might meet Jesus in the streets or in our own little church!
by Charlie Leck
"When Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.'" [Matthew 8:14-17]
Here is the scene! On a dark, quiet evening, Jimmy Breslin, the famous newspaper columnist, and his wife were walking down a street in Manhattan. They were confronted by a poor beggar, seeking funds. Breslin took his wife's arm and hurried her by the man. Suddenly they paused. His wife was speaking sternly to Breslin. Meekly, Breslin returned to the homeless man and handed him a fiver. Breslin smiled at the fellow, bowed his head to him slightly and then turned and returned to his wife.
What was it that Mrs. Breslin said?
"Jimmy, that might be Jesus. Go back and be kind to him."
Indeed, Jesus told us that when we are kind to "the least of these, our brethren" we are being kind to him.
The front page of this morning's Minneapolis Star-Tribune has an account of a young autistic boy who has been barred from attending church by the parish priest. He's too disruptive and he may be a danger to people because he is such a big boy (6 feet and over 225 pounds). The parents, of course, in disbelief kept going to mass. The priest took out a legal restraining order, to keep the boy away. It's an interesting story. Read it for yourself. It leaves me a bit stupefied and I wish the priest had the common sense of Mrs. Breslin.
"Father, that may be Jesus! You'll meet him, you know, in the very strangest places."
One never knows. We know, from the gospel accounts, that Jesus would not have turned the boy away – ever! He gathered these, the least of these, snuggly around him and he poured out his love on them. Jesus was at home when he was with the suffering and those who had been slighted by life's unfairness.
What a lovely portrait photo of handsome Adam Race! When I look deeply into his eyes I think I see – well, don't laugh at me now, because I mean it – I think I see Jesus. Just perhaps, you know, it might be this man of boundless love.
Father, that may be Jesus!
Oh, my goodness, if my wonderful sister, Jean of blessed memory, were still alive, her heart would be broken! It was for these children of God, those like Adam Race, that she lived her life.
Now, Father, go on over to the home of Adam Race and look deeply into his eyes! Apologize to our Lord, embrace him and invite him home again, into his own house. Father, up there near your chancel, I believe I see a tear in the eye of the blessed, virgin mother.