By Fr. Christopher Kubat
Through the years, I have seen many things while jogging on the trail from our near downtown office to the Devaney Center and back—many kinds of birds, snakes, and small mammals, including a fox that passed me along the waterway at a good clip. But the most beautiful and important creatures I have encountered have been created in God’s image and likeness.
Several years ago, I wrote about a homeless man on the bike trail who asked me what I saw when looking at him. He was consoled beyond description when I said I saw Jesus. We have helped him a number of ways as he has bounced in and out of homelessness.
On my last run—during which four butterflies passed me—I encountered him once again. He was sitting on a bench, resting with his bicycle.
After saying hello and asking him what’s new, I learned that he completed an alcohol treatment program and has been dry for several years. However, after exiting treatment, he discovered his clothes and personal belongings gone. In essence, he needed to start over from scratch.
He still has a roof over his head but it looks like not for long because his employment at a local construction firm is drying up because of the seasonal changes in the weather. He has at least one more outdoor job before the snow starts to fall and since he was between paychecks, he was out of food.
After following me back to the office, I was able to give him a sleeping bag Father Bernard Kimminau gave me from one of his parishioners, some egg rolls, scones and an apple from my desk. Knowing he is a fallen-away Catholic, I told him how easy it is coming back to the faith. He rode off very happy.
Whether it is food, clothing, emergency services, charity grants, vehicles, furniture or appliances, we try our level best to see Jesus Christ in the people we encounter as they see Jesus in us.
That said, we could not do all of the things we do without the love and generosity of our donors and volunteers.
As the weather gets colder, please check your closets for cold weather items such as warm coats, gloves, hats, scarfs, boots, socks, blankets and sleeping bags to help those in need. Please remember that whatever you do to the least, you do to Jesus (Mt 25:31-46). Please also remember that we at Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska will keep you, your families and intentions in our prayers.
Lastly, since it is the time of the year surrounding All Saints and All Souls Day, let us be mindful that the intercession of the saints are very powerful and that the souls we assist in Purgatory with our prayers will never forget our help and will be praying for us as well. All the Saints in Heaven, pray for us. Eternal rest grant unto all the souls in Purgatory, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen!