99% of those who like donkeys are law-abiding citizens. And then there’s Father Byers. O.K., so, that’s to misquote a 1947 backfired American Motorcyclist Association statement that was supposed to defend motorcyclists, but was used by all others to say that one in a hundred motorcyclists are criminals.
The other day, besides being compared by way of hubris to Peter Abelard (and I’m proud of that, of course) it was also said about yours truly that if I were to wear a bandanna and wear a leather jacket, I would surely be mistaken to be a one-percenter motorcycle gang member to be most feared. It was insisted that those attending my Mass are likely to say, and have said, that I provide quite a specter-esque appearance (I’m kind of a big guy), but that, ha ha, that perception disappears the second I open my mouth for the homily and begin to speak of the goodness and kindness and truth of Jesus who loves us so very much.
The two just don’t seem to go together, this being a kind of grotesque and monstrous creature. But I contend that this is exactly the way it is supposed to be and is most instructive to all and sundry and quite a consolation that such uncouth and otherwise uncustomary appearance might at the same time bear the death of Jesus within.
It is an honor to be considered among the one-percenters. After all, Jesus Himself was accounted as a criminal, and put to death as the worst of all possible criminals. Oh, and, by the way, we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God by way of original sin and whatever else. But knowing that, admitting that, being convinced of that opens us up to being beckoned for forgiveness by the Mother of Him who makes all things new:
More than one percent of us criminals can be on our way to heaven if we but go to Confession. Just in time for Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year.