Father Kelley at St. Monica's has often told us that when people are skeptical that the devil exists, he offers them $20 to go to Broad and Snyder at 2am. "I guarantee you, you'll meet the devil within 20 seconds" he says, and anyone familiar with the area knows he's not kidding. But during the day, it's another story. Go to Broad and Snyder in broad daylight and you will see the face of Christ. You might not recognize Him at first under the layers of filth and dirty clothing, but he's there,in, as Mother Teresa reminded us, the distressing disguise of the poor. So many people today in need. And oddly enough, none of them were asking for help. Perhaps they were too down-trodden and in too much despair. In Center City, I'm familiar with a lot of the faces that haunt street corners and doorways, but I can honestly say I had never seen any of the faces that I encountered today. A man in t-shirt and shorts, with a hospital bracelet still on his wrist, emiting a putrid odor and sporting some kind of rash all over his body. An elderly woman whose gray hair was discolored from dirt, her face streaked with filth, wearing winter clothes that reeked of amonia and other bodily secretions. Where do they come from? And where do they go when you return to help them and can't find them?
It can be very discouraging for those of us who don't like to walk past anyone in need without stopping to help. I wasn't prepared for what I saw today. But it goes to show you never know when and how Christ is going make Himself known to you.