An Unexpected Encounter

In a mad dash to get to class on time
I stopped short, aghast,
in a drizzle of rain drops.
There lay a homeless person
asleep on a park bench
at the door of Regis College.

Usually, sad to say, the homeless
don’t draw our attention
against the backdrop of urban life.

This person seemed different somehow.
Call 911, or check it out?

Tiptoeing forward for a closer look
I met a life-sized bronze sculpture of
a blanket wrapped someone
whose covered face was an enigma.

As my gaze slipped down
the carefully crafted folds of grey,
I drew another gasp.
Could this be Jesus
with uncovered wounded feet
stretched sideways for all to see?

The space near his exposed feet
was an invitation to sit down
and meet the crucified Jesus
who healed the sick,
taught, and loved all to his death,
yet was rejected then, and now too.

Cars sped by, and cyclists pedalled fast
beside strolling pedestrians,
as I sat in the weak sunlight
filtering through my jumbled thoughts and emotions
grateful for mysterious moments
when a silent, stone statue seemed to breathe
new life into me.

The “Homeless Jesus” statue was created by Canadian sculptor 
Timothy Schmalz in Toronto in 2013. 
Now there are several around the world drawing attention to Matthew 25: 35-45.

Viola Athaide, a student of Theology, is actively involved in parish life, leading Bible courses, the Prayer Group, and the Ministry with Maturing Adults.

  • Gemma Neal
    Posted at 06:59h, 28 September Reply

    Thank you, Viola, for this really beautiful reflection

  • Ana Maria Rodriguez
    Posted at 08:52h, 28 September Reply

    Viola, to find a homeless person, is always very touching and at the same time scaring…… How to help???? What to do????? What would Jesus do?????
    It has become for me a permanent reflection…. This time it was a meaningful statue……
    Thank you

  • Dee Sproule
    Posted at 09:01h, 28 September Reply

    Thank you!

  • Sylvia Lee
    Posted at 12:03h, 28 September Reply

    Thank you for your beautiful poem, Viola. It’s inspiring.

    Hope the silent stone statue can breathe new life into every passer-by.

    God bless you.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 14:05h, 28 September Reply

    Thank you Viola!

  • Maria Chrysant Susanto
    Posted at 16:23h, 28 September Reply

    Thanks Viola for sharing the beautiful reflection. In Indonesia, for the 2021, we make collection every quarter and the theme is “ homeless Jesus

  • suzanne renaud
    Posted at 17:30h, 28 September Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful poem and inspirational photo that is worth a thousand words and evoking so much emotion in me.

  • Sharon McDermott
    Posted at 01:27h, 29 September Reply

    How thought provoking

  • Sharon McDermott
    Posted at 01:28h, 29 September Reply

    Thank you for the beautiful thoughts

  • Teresa.correia
    Posted at 06:26h, 29 September Reply

    Thank you Viola for this beautiful reflection.

  • Jacqui Hubbard
    Posted at 06:36h, 29 September Reply

    Very powerful.
    Thank you for reminding us that Jesus lives among us.
    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”

  • Catherine von Zuben
    Posted at 09:12h, 29 September Reply

    Thank you Viola for this thought filled contribution. It is beautifully expressed. I was present at Regis College the day Tim Schmaltz presented this work to the Jesuit College, and witnessed the blessing. Tim had offered his work to other institutions who were not willing to display it. What a pity or perhaps a blessing, because Regis received it. ! It is perfectly placed there at 100 Wellesley St. West where students from all U of T faculties pass and often take a rest. Again, thank you.

  • Ornella Vecchio
    Posted at 11:32h, 29 September Reply

    Alone. Abandoned. Forsaken. His crime? He healed the sick; he embraced the poor; he spoke of love, justice and mercy. He knows what suffering and feeling helpless means. We need only call on Him to find the strength and the grace we need to get through these difficult times. Thank you Viola for the reminder that His is among us always. Hugs

  • Christine Domingo
    Posted at 12:41h, 29 September Reply

    Wow …how beautifully you bring this into perspective! “Be still and know that I am God” … whether it be in a beautifully crafted statue along the way, or walking past a homeless person too abashed to look one in the eye and ask for help. Thank you Viola.

  • Fay
    Posted at 00:08h, 30 September Reply

    Viiola, You seem to be inspired by such little items others just take for granted and just pass by. Each submission of yours is so inspiring, and you express it so vividly.
    God Bless you for noticing and sending out his message his wonderful creations bestowed on us .

  • Lillian M Phelan
    Posted at 19:39h, 30 September Reply

    Thank you Viola. I am called to go deeper into soul making reading your words.

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