Last Christmas I went out to visit a friend. It was a few days after Jesus’s actual birthday, but she ended up taking me to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner–because the family hadn’t yet had the opportunity to have their official holiday meal together.
Family was a bit of an understatement. The table was set for 12, even though there were only four people there that were actually related. As the evening went on more and more people arrived, eventually filling the table. Everyone who was anyone was invited.
In the middle of dinner the front door opened. A man with a thick beard and a dirty coat came in, sat down, and started eating. No one really said anything to him as shovled food into his mouth.
Did some homeless guy just walk in here?
After a few minutes a politically charged conversation started and Carl (I found out his name was Carl) began adding his two cents. He was quite intelligent and humorous. I assumed, by everyone else’s failure to react to his breaking and entering, that his presence was a normal occurrence.
When my friend and I left I asked if she’s met Carl before. She was just as shocked as me when he’d come in–but she had recalled him being at mass a number of times.
A few days ago I got a text message from her: “Saw Carl today. Looking as homeless as ever.”