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Community of Sinners, Community of Saints
By Joseph R. Veneroso, M.M.

Alone, angry, afraid, apathetic
I did nothing and everything to forget
Or at least be less mindful of God’s love
To prove myself unworthy of being saved.
So I sought out the company of others
With similar or different but no less
Self-inflicted wounds and so convince
Myself I—no we—were right to be wrong.

And so rather than change I covered up
My shame and guilt with prideful justification:
Everyone does the same or worse.
Weighed down by layer upon layer of denial
I could barely move much less escape
My self-imposed exile and thus found myself
Alone in a crowd of indifferent and
Uncaring strangers.

Among us stood one familiar yet unknown
Who looked right through our pitiful disguises
And conveyed through merciful eyes
Compassion, hope and healing.
Extending his wounded hands he unwound
Our would-be shrouds and washed them clean
In the water and blood flowing from his side
For us to sanitize and bind each other’s injuries,
Giving us festive garments and tablecloths
For the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

Amid food of every sort, and music, dancing
And much laughter, I arose from my place and
With a nod of understanding from the holy host
Ran back out into the streets to seek and find
Those still wandering and lost. And standing
In their midst like one familiar yet unknown
And looking through their pitiful disguises with merciful eyes
I let healing flow to them through my wounds and
Taking them by the hand and walking by their side
We entered the wedding feast together.