Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Homeless Guy at Church

This happened many years ago.  I hope I've become less prejudiced since then.

There was a time, when I was a Catholic (I'm an Episcopalian now), when I was between churches.  I wanted the faith experience of a liturgical service, but I was struggling with the Catholic Church's teachings on certain topics, such as human sexuality and women's roles in the Church.

A friend had invited me to a Mass hosted by a organization of gay Catholics (a group of Catholics but not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church) called Dignity.  There was a rotation of diocesan priests that led the Mass.  

So here I am, surveying my surroundings, waiting for the Mass to begin, when I see a scruffy old gentleman with a bit of stubble take a seat not too far away.  Since he was evidently in silent prayer, people gave him his space.  I thought, "How nice that these people are so accepting of anyone who walks in, especially a homeless person like this man."

I spent a few moments bowed in silence.  When I looked up, I saw our priest for the evening.  A scruffy old man, now wearing a liturgical stole, greeted us.

"Good evening.  I'm Father John."

1 Samuel 16:7

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”


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