Church bound on the 2 train this morning, I recognized a homeless man I knew personally, Mr. Michael Catman. I know this man because I have personally advocated for his release from jail (several times) while working in Manhattan Arraignments. The homeless man stretched his feet across the subway car, the man without a home, making himself at home, began to litter as he completed his food. I became displeased at his littering so I turned my full attention on him shouting,
“Aye, stop littering Catman!”
This man was unmoved by my reproach. Though I personally knew him, had aided him from prison several times, loved him and called him by name. He didn’t honor me with a mere flinch. He continued to litter.
In that moment, I had inherited the heart of God. This man who had rejected me, though I comforted him and loved him continued to yet reject me. Though I offered him peace, via drug rehabilitation, access to shelter, food, clothing he yet continued to reject me. Like so many lost I will never reach, he had no interest in God’s gospel and had made himself comfortably at home in misery.
And nonetheless I yet loved this man. I still cared for him. Still wanted him delivered from the work of Satan who mocked me by waving God’s child before my face. I was angered not – lest the bridge between his heart and mine become shattered and unable to deliver him back home. God’s Love is truly unconditional.
As the train continued to speed past space and time I recognized a second homeless man. This man I knew not personally, unable to call him directly by name, I called out to his soul nonetheless,
“Ay, good morning Mr!”
He smiled back lovingly with a shock that suggested he was unprepared for me to remember nor speak to him. So I proceeded to call him out.
“I thought you told me you would say hey when you saw me and not be fake, how are you?”
The second homeless man brimming with joy began to engage excitedly, most of which I couldn’t hear because he was so far away from me on a crowded train.
How often have we strayed from God – returned briefly and excitedly to engage in prayer with a God that can barely hear us because we are too far away?
But though unable to hear with my earthly ears I yet listened with my heart and my eyes and I equated this good parable as the tale of two relationships with the Lord.
How God knocks and knocks and knocks wanting to fill us with full faith and prosperity – some of too disobedient to answer his calling and others of us – so hungry and eager for his presence.
Before the second homeless man departed from the train I told him that I loved him and in my doing so – we both were blessed.
The first homeless man whom I knew but rejected me – departed the train without communing – leaving his blessing to be received by another man.
Let us be mindful of the living God that lives and breathes in each of us. Remembering we are witnesses to Christ – so we may bring the homeless back home to Christ.
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