Well, tonight I was very upset during Mass. I decided to go to the Saturday Vigil Mass because I have been sick with a cold this week and a sleep in tomorrow is exactly what I need. On my way over a man came to ask me for prayers. There are many homeless people who live around the convent because of our location and I make it a point not to ever turn them away from me. They want to know the sisters love them and care about them.
He didn't ask me for any money. He just wanted to pray together. I took his hand in mine and he closed his eyes while I said a few words for both of us to God asking for help and thanking Him for our lives. He smelled of alcohol and after I prayed with him he hugged me and thanked me for caring. I was reminded of Father Damien and the lepers.
When I reached the doors to church an older woman scolded me for speaking to him. She told me he was a drunk and a good for nothing freeloader. He didn't belong here in our parish. I was quite angry, and told her that Jesus had no home and relied on the people in the towns He visited. I also told her that love had no limit and that he asked me for prayers only. I almost told her my natural father is an alcoholic... thank God I controlled myself!
However, when the Gospel began about Lazarus I came close to crying. Are the homeless not allowed to attend Mass? Can they not be in the presence of Jesus unless they are cleaned up and straightened out? Are they outside of salvation's reach because they don't have a house to live in? And what about that woman who scolded me... will she be accepted into the Father's house after denying this man prayer? Will she be able to look Jesus in the eyes after turning Him away? Her disgust and hatred was so evident, it was sickening.
When I got home, I told the sisters all about it and I was glad they agreed with me. We have problems with security in our house. It isn't safe sometimes because of the amount of people living in tents and other haphazard structures around our convent so I was worried they might have the same feeling about this poor man. However, they agreed. I shouldn't have even second guessed them. He is a human being. He deserves and needs love.
Anyway, I realized when I got home that I could look my husband in the eyes because of what I said to that man today. I don't care about that woman's hatred for this poor soul or what the more well - to - do members of the parish thought of seeing me conversing with him and holding his hand because the only person who matters is Him. I truly believe that Jesus has much more in common with that homeless man than He does with the people who tell him he doesn't belong. He loved. He asked for help. He accepted charity. He forgave. He prayed.
Lord let me do the same. Let me never become so complacent and particular that I cannot accept the ways in which You decide to reveal Yourself to me. Never let me deny Lazarus a drink of water, a bite to eat, a prayer to share.