Home of Misfits

“…It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches…” (Matthew 13:32)

“How come there are so many ‘needy’ people in the church?”

This was my question to a friend priest during one of my preaching engagements in the province last year. Oh you see them, don’t you?

Beggars loitering around the church grounds.

Sick people frequenting the blessed sacrament.

The psychologically disturbed whose voices rise above the rest during the mass.

Ostracized young people who are unaccepted by their friends at school, some of them becoming leaders in the youth ministry of the parish.

As I wonder how come the church has somewhat become a home of misfits, my thoughts turned to Pacita.

Pacita was my friend. I was only 4 years old then when I first met her. She was referred to by many as the village fool. Dressed in her drags, this middle-aged lady was the favorite playmate of kids my age every Sunday. While our parents attended mass, we would be playing with Pacita.

Pacita wasn’t violent or rude. But she was mentally insane. Stories made mention of an ex-lover who violated her. Or some problem with her finances which led her to her state. Whatever the reason was, this reason led her to find solace in the church. In the church, she found a home. The priests fed her. The nuns nursed her wounds. The parishioners befriended her.

Neither she nor anyone else knew her family. But she and everyone else knew she found a family in the Cathedral. Like a nest-less bird, she found refuge on the widespread branches of the church. As the scripture says about the Kingdom of God:

“…It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches…” (Matthew 13:32)

Pacita was a misfit. But aren’t we all, in some degree or another? Just like Pacita, there are some things in our lives which we feel do not fit. The spouse we have, perhaps. Or the job we hold. The past we lived, and the future we aim for. The money in our bank account, and the bills we have to pay. Many things may not fit in our lives today. And perhaps, that is why the church exists. To provide a home for misfits like us.

My friend priest’s reply to my query amplifies this truth when he said: “It is for them that the church exists. Because it is for them that Jesus founded the church in the first place.” 

A few years ago, I visited the old church to check on Pacita. I was told that she already passed away a few years earlier. But I was also informed that she JOYFULLY passed away.

I wasn’t surprised. If she found a home in the church during her lifetime, I could just imagine the kind of home that awaits her beyond the grave.

For Pacita and rest of us, the home beyond the grave is the Home where we truly fit. 

Glad to be home,

Bobby Q.

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