When Jesus is Inconvenient

The Trouble With Epiphanies – by Ben L’Heureux

About hospitality Dennis Okholm says*, “what I find most irritating about practicing Benedictine hospitality when it comes to receiving the guest is the timing of the guest’s appearance. In the spirit of Benedictine hospitalilty I used to make a simple request each morning: ‘Lord, send someone today whom I can serve.’ But inevitably this someone would show up five minutes before I had to deliver a lecture . . . or before I was dashing off to lunch with a growling stomach. It got to the point that I could not pray this prayer with sincerity–unless I was in greater control of my encounters with guests. And that is precisely the point: the stranger at our ‘gate’ is as unpredictable in his appearance as Christ. To top it off, this stranger is often the kid who irritates me most, yet the one whom I must envision as Christ. That often takes not only patience but a lot of envisioning.”

* Monk habits For Everyday People

Okholm goes on to share this poem (I posted it once before within a text of a homily. But it is so good, I wanted to share it once more).

Christ came into my room
and stood there
and I was bored to death.
I had work to do.
I wouldn’t have minded
if he’d been crippled
or something–I do well
with cripples–but he
just stood there, all face,
with that d–ned guitar.
I didn’t ask him to sit down:
he’d have stayed all day.
(Let’s be honest. You
can be crucified just so often;
then you’ve had it. I mean
you’re useless; no good
to God, let alone
to anybody else.) So I said
to him after a while”
well, what’s up? What do you want?
And he laughed, stupid,
said he was just passing by
and thought he’d say hello.
Great, I said, hello.
So he left.
And I was so damned mad
I couldn’t even listen
to the radio. I went
and got some coffee.
The trouble with Christ is
he always comes at the wrong time.

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