Day 21: Jesus, The Stranger

The Office of Youth Ministry gathered the CYMs of the Arlington Diocese for an early, but perfectly timed Advent Day of Reflection. Fr. Searby led us in reflection the entire day and posed quite a handful of questions to meditate on in preparation for the new [liturgical] year, which begins in just over a week. Two questions that resurfaced while sitting in my bed, reflecting on my day, were: “Who did I serve today?” and “What opportunity did I miss out on serving someone today?”

After leaving St. Louis, Jonathan and I stopped by Target since I needed to return something I purchased days prior. When we exited Target, we spotted an elderly man trying to break into his car because he got locked out. I felt so bad for him and as we walked past, I told Jonathan how I wished there was something we could do to help, though he replied saying that he wouldn’t know how to help. Once I got into my car, I sat there feeling helpless and so sorry for this elderly man. I hoped that saying a quick prayer for him would help.

We were about to leave (we drove separately) and Jonathan came back around to my door and told me he was going to see if he could help. Slightly confused, I got out and immediately followed suit. We got to the man’s car and Jonathan asked if he could assist him in any way. We also asked him if he had a phone to call AAA or a relative. Fortunately and eventually, after Jonathan moved a clothes hanger into the perfect position (at this point, the man was exhausted and I am sure lost strength after attempting to unlock the door for an hour), it unlocked the door! The man was filled with great relief and of course shared his gratitude to Jonathan saying, “I couldn’t have done this without you!”

I walked away with happy tears in my eyes and told Jonathan, “We didn’t even know his name! I want to pray for him by name!” The Lord was truly with us in that moment because, not only did we answer to the call to serve this man when we could’ve just left, but the Lord gave us this opportunity to serve. Serve who? So while I stated that we didn’t know the name of this man, my wonderful boyfriend promptly replied, “that was Jesus Christ.” That made me tear up even more. While we initially assumed that we couldn’t help, turned out we did help.

Jonathan and I had the opportunity to serve Jesus in the face of this stranger in such a simple, ordinary way. I am extraordinarily grateful for that and for the Lord speaking through Jonathan in such a way that deeply touched my heart and left me with much to reflect on tonight. “Who did I serve today?” Jesus Christ.

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