Fr John was excited when the Bishop told him hie was going to be given his own parish, his first one. It would be a challenge the Bishop warned him, the parish had been in decline for a long while and he had been given one last chance to turn it round. When he arrived at the small town, the locals told him he was wasting his time – the parish was dead. So he placed an advert in the local newspaper declaring since the parish was dead a funeral would be held the following week.
The Church was crowded by the curious who were rewarded with the sight of a huge coffin covered in flowers. After reading the obituary the young priest invited people up tp pay their last respects. As the long curious queue passed by each looked into the coffin and then glanced guiltily away.
At the bottom of the coffin lay a mirror solemnly reflecting the last remains of the church in the startled faces of the congregation.
Adapted version of a story by Ann Cooper.
Imagine the following scenario. We are in a large gathering at a local park, and there are folks of all social strata and condition present. Perhaps drinks and hors d’oeuvres are being served by waiters and waitresses. In one particular area are gathered Hollywood stars, big wig political leaders, and other cultural glitterati. As most of us scan the crowd our eye is drawn immediately to the famous and we lift up our cell phone cameras and try to get pictures.
But if God were to walk into this crowd, where would his eye be drawn? Where would God “run with his cell phone” and start snapping pictures? Most likely his eye would be drawn to those serving the hors d’oeuvres. Perhaps too his eye would be drawn to the edge of the park where some of the poor are gathered and wondering what all the excitement is about. Some of them are begging. Yet again, there are some in the crowd who have come from the local group home. They are mentally handicapped, many of them wheelchair bound, others not able to talk but making wild gestures and groans. God’s eye is drawn there too. “But God, but God! Look at all those famous people over there! (we say), pointing to the glitterati. And God, looking puzzled, says, “Where? Who are they??”
Story courtesy of Msgr Charles Pope