The Places You Meet Jesus

The Places You Meet Jesus December 6, 2017

I didn’t understand what that meant.

“She was huffin’ stuff out of her purse, every few minutes.” The lady grew less nervous as she told her story. “Afore she came to the front, she was right by me. She was flopped over so I thought she was asleep, but then she huffed in her purse and got high. I didn’t wanna tell you with her sittin’ there. She was huffin’ that cleaning spray for keyboards.”

That explained the smell.

I held Rose a little closer.

The bus erupted in laughter. The diver was indignant in her cheerful way; she said the woman looked awful and she wouldn’t let her back on the bus. The plump lady began waxing eloquent about how she’d seen a program on TLC all about people who “huffed stuff,” some of them using up eight cans of keyboard cleaner per day.

“Can you imagine what pain she must be in?” wondered the man next to me. “Imagine being in so much pain you’d do something like that to get away from it. I don’t think any of us can imagine.”

I agreed with him as loudly as I could.

But no one listened to us. They were talking about how funny it was that anyone would huff keyboard cleaning spray. They talked about the TLC program and other funny addictions they’d heard of. They complained about how the bus smelled. They shouted to be heard over one another, one-upping each other with jokes about how trashy the woman was and how horrible addicts are.

One man cracked, “It didn’t look like she had more’n two or three brain cells left to kill in the first place.”

The bus erupted in laughter once more– the bus driver joined in, sounding ladylike. She always does.

We got off at our stop; we breathed the clean, damp air. I started to explain what we’d witnessed to Rose. She’s an unschooled kindergartner who has never been exposed to the DARE program. I don’t think she understands what “drugs” are, and she usually knows to ignore loud people on the bus.

I gave her the sermon about the two places you meet Jesus once again.

“I know,” said Rose.

The two places you meet Jesus are in the Holy Eucharist and in the poor. In the breathtakingly ornate church and across from the church at the Friendship Room. At the table where He feeds you and chats with you like a friend, and at the table in the hungry person who hasn’t got a friend. Wrapped in the humeral veil or shivering in a donated secondhand coat. Enthroned in a gold ciborium and standing limply at the front of the bus. Honored with reverence in the quietest place and mocked by a shouting crowd. On Calvary– on every little Calvary there every was, in every human soul– and in Paradise. May God grant all of us sinners of which I am the first to seek Him constantly in both of those places.

You can’t have Him in one place and not the other. He’ll be there, but you won’t see.

(image via Wikimedia Commons) 


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