There is a homeless man we see almost every time we pass a certain intersection.
Sometimes he has a woman with him. We are not sure if it's his girlfriend, or wife or just another fellow homeless person with him. In the winter, he had a long, long beard and she had long, straggly, silver hair.
This spring, they've cleaned up, he now has short clean cut hair and a nice mustache, she has a short cut for the summer. I have to admit they look much more approachable now that they are cleaned up.
This looks exactly like the sign of the man we see.
In the past, we've given them water or whatever snacks we've had in the van.
My husband is convinced they would use any money for drugs or booze so he insists we not give them money.
Now, my husband is a counselor for men in recovery and many of them are homeless and he knows all the resources out there available for these kind of people. He believes if they really wanted help, it's there for them. Not every homeless person, is that person they do a special on TV about, someone just down on their luck, someone like the character played by Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness.
In fact most of the homeless, at least in our area are either addicts or mentally ill.
they are homeless.
The kids and I pray for this man (and woman if she's there) every time we pass.
We have stopped and bought them lunch
We've brought them water.
His name is Randy.
He has bright eyes that light up when he smiles.
He says they clean up in the gas station bathrooms and the local Salvation Army lets him shower for free.
He always says "God bless you" to us afterward.
He doesn't have to.
But he does.
He says he doesn't want to follow the rules at the local homeless shelter, and he's right,
it's not a very nice place.
He says he doesn't qualify for any assistance except food stamps, which he shares with his friend,
Aren't we as Christians, as Catholic Christians, supposed to see the face of Christ in everyone?
Not just some people.
Not just in the people we want to.
Sure, it's easy to be busy and miss seeing him on the side of the road.
But isn't it just as easy to stop and ask if he needs anything?
Isn't it just as easy to see if he's eaten today?
To ask if he needs water?
To tell him you pray for him every time we pass him?
To let him know he's loved by the way we treat him?
To let him know, that at least that day, someone cares for him?
There was an article last week in our Catholic newspaper, titled "Why be a do-gooder?"
It explained exactly the way I feel.
" We believe that every human being, from conception to natural death, has the inherent dignity of a child of God. We don't distinguish on the basis of mental or physical functionality, on usefulness to society, on class or race, on friend or foe."
The article went on to talk about Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity:
"The profundity of Mother Teresa's example is that she doesn't see a dying person: she sees Christ. And in giving comfort, however briefly, to a suffering person, she becomes the face of Christ, herself."
"Our challenge these days is to remember why we do good. It is not for the tax deduction. It is not to feel good about ourselves. It is to be the hands and feet and face of Christ to our suffering fellow souls."
Remember the homeless in front of you.
Look for them.
Pray for them.
Love them and make them feel loved.
You might be the only way they see Christ that day.