Friday within the Octave of Easter
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Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.
“I am going fishing.” Well, not exactly. I actually went to Boston Market a couple of days ago to have lunch with a very close friend. I got there a little early and my friend got there a little late. This was the perfect set up for an encounter with a homeless man.
As I approached the door, I heard someone shout, “Sir? Sir?” I turned around and saw a filthy old man walking towards me. “Yes. What can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if you could get me something to eat.”
“Of course. You came to the right place.” I opened the door to the restaurant and invited him to come in.
“No!” He said, “They won’t let me in.”
“Yes they will. You’re my guest.”
“Come, have breakfast.” Well, it wasn’t breakfast; it was more like lunch. And we made a scene the moment we walked in. The people working there appeared a bit shocked but not surprised. I believe they had seen the poor man before, but they had never seen me. The young lady who took the man’s order wasn’t sure if we were “together,” so I discretely told her, “He’s with me.” At that moment she put a smile on her face.
I told the hopeless man to order whatever he wanted. I said to him, “It’s on me.” And he did. I thought he was about to order the entire kitchen.
“I’ll have a whole chicken, with sweet corn and spinach. I’ll also take a slice of pecan pie.”
I sat down with the man while I waited for my lunch date. We talked (Actually, he talked). He asked me if I was a pastor. I told him that I was a Roman Catholic priest. I asked him what his name was and after a bit of prodding, he opened up to me his life story. Was it true? Who knows. But what I heard was disturbing.
He ate everything, except the pie. I believe he was saving it for later. He ate quickly, with fork and fingers. It didn’t take him long to eat, perhaps 15 minutes. When he was finished, he got up and thanked me. I told him I would pray for him if he prayed for me. He agreed to the deal and left.
For a brief moment, I sat in my seat reflecting on our conversation. As I got up, I noticed a woman at a booth waving to me to come over to her. I thought to myself, “What in the world is going on here?” I walked over and she had tears in her eyes. She wanted to talk. I sat down and we talked. This finely dressed woman was going through some tough times in her life. I asked her for her number and I promised her I would contact her. She was thrilled. In fact, she had been looking for Church home for a while.
By the time I finished speaking to her, my friend arrived and we had our lunch together. Everything was perfectly timed.
I was early. My dear friend was late. What a day! What an experience.
“They realized it was the Lord.” I got into my car and reflected on my various “lunch” encounters. I asked myself why this woman wanted to speak with me. I knew the answer. It wasn’t the obvious. It was deeper than it appeared to be. It wasn’t because she had seen a priest. It was because she had seen a priest with a homeless man. She saw me because she saw the homeless man.
Jesus reveals himself in the most mysterious ways. (0)