How can you worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?

I am fortunate to have a copy of this hard to find poster. During my Senior year at Saint Mary’s, I got in touch with folks from the Coalition for the Homeless in New York. I had them mailed me 3 posters. I gave one poster to CILSA (Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action) and one to Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry. I felt it was very important that a poster of this magnitude be on the walls of our Campus Ministry and CILSA to remind us about the connection between Spirituality and Social Justice.

As I reflect on this poster, I am reminded about my interactions with homeless people and the countless times they have shared their faith in God to me. I remember one conversation that I had with a homeless man in Cape Town, South Africa. Sometimes in the evening I would make some Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and take with me a half gallon of milk and walk around our neighborhood to feed the homeless. I remembered one evening when I approach a man and I offered him Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches. “Thank you, God Bless!,” he said with a smile on his face. I replied, “You’re welcome. What’s your name?” “Michael.” “Nice to meet you, Michael. I brought milk so you can enjoy your sandwich.” “Thank you. God Bless You.” I started talking to Michael as he was eating his sandwich. Michael then said to me, “you know why I’m homeless? Because Jesus was homeless…I don’t have to go to church; you become the church to me G…Do you know where Jesus is?” Without thinking about it, I pointed to the sky (looking back, I’m embarrassed to say that was my response :). Michael looked at me and said, “NO! Jesus is right there (and pointed to my heart)!” I was left speechless. 

My conversation with Michael was a blessing that I will always treasure. It only reaffirmed that my vocation to work with the homeless was not only a desire to help my brothers and sisters on the margins of society but a journey where it will provide me with the opportunity to continue building the “Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.” I have seen Jesus in disguise in the most marginalize. In fact, that is exactly where He wants us to find Him. The message is written in the Gospels but has to be carried in our hearts. May we continue worshiping a Homeless Man on Sunday but start embracing one on Monday.

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