Saturday, 01 February 2020 07:46

A Poor Sinner

Written by

Have pity on me, Lord, I am a poor sinner. 

    Our Lord's example about the Pharisee and the poor tax collector at the back thumping his chest and saying, "Have pity on me, I'm a wretched sinner," reminds me of the time Paul Cronin, Brian Hadden, and I jumped the wall and broke through Mrs. Pollock's palm trees into her big garden full of flowers and shrubs and exotic trees and plants of all kinds and colors. 

    There was a big greenhouse in the middle of the garden. The door was open. A paradise of strawberries, big, plump, glistening, red strawberries. We stuffed ourselves and then took off our jumpers and filled them with more strawberries to eat later, in peace and quiet. 

    Suddenly a door of the house opened and slammed shut. We jumped with fright and ran off. We thought we'd escaped, but I got caught. I always got caught. The red hair. I should have put on a wig but I never thought of it. 

    She told my mother. My mother told me to go and apologize. Paul Cronin and Brian Hadden pretended they didn't even know me. I had to make the long trip from my house to Mrs. Pollock's house all on my own. Head down, heart pounding. What will I say, how will I say it, what will she do. Oh boy, you're in big trouble now. She's going to punish you, big-time. I rang the doorbell. 

    Mrs. Pollock came out. She told me to follow her into the kitchen. She put a plate of biscuits on the table and a glass of Fanta. She asked me how I  was getting on in school and what was my favorite sport. I finished the biscuits and the Fanta. She went over to the fridge and took out a huge bowl of fresh strawberries. She filled a small bag with strawberries and handed it to me with a little hug, saying: "Don't steal my strawberries, okay. If you want strawberries just ring the doorbell, and I'll give you strawberries, no problem. Bye, bye, now." 

    I stole her strawberries, and she gave me strawberries! 

    How many times over the years I've gone to Jesus and said, "I did it, Lord, it was me." With my head down and my heart pounding. Stuff much worse than stealing strawberries. And every single time, He sends me away with a little hug and a bag of strawberries. 

    Don't be a stupid Pharisee, just own up and face the music. The music of God's untiring forgiveness. In the confessional. 


Fr Colm PowersFr. Colum Power, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1965, is a Servant Priest of the Home of the Mother. He obtained a Master's degree in literature in 1991 and a doctorate in the History of the Church in 2013. He is author of A Touch of the Gardener's Hand, Honey from the Lion's Carcass, and James Joyce's Catholic Categories. He devotes his time to apostolic activities for the youth organized by the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother. Fr. Colum Power is author and editor of the FFA blog "Random Reflections".