I feel like a bad citizen…

…because I had no idea who was the elderly man just in front of me.

It’s been long while since I’ve gone to my own church for this very specific purpose. I decided to get in my usual line and was walking down the aisle of pews and caught glimpse of the end of the line.

So I got at the end of the line in that pew, not really paying too much attention to everyone else around simply because Jesus was out of His box, exposed in the monstrance.

There were like…6 people ahead of me. And one by one, they entered into the confessional until it got to be my turn.

I confess my sins, receive absolution, and leave the confessional. I make my way around the perimeter on the outside pews, and caught glimpse of the elderly man who went to confession right before me.

And I noticed, unmistakably, the polo shirt with the logo that I know only city council members wear.

As I passed by him, it dawned on me that he wasn’t any ordinary council member but rather… the mayor.

I keep forgetting that he goes to my church! But after my awkward realization, I thought it was cool that I got to spend time in prayer with the mayor of my city in the pew before we went in for our confessions.

Admittedly, I feel like a bad citizen simply because I didn’t acknowledge him (I used to work for the city, but I’ve never officially met him), but you know what, in that setting, I think it was definitely more appropriate to keep the focus on Christ rather than detract and distract by formally saying hello and awkwardly introducing myself.

But despite that, I thought it beautiful and awesome that I encountered someone in public office who professes the faith and is humble enough to admit that he’s not perfect before God Himself, seeking forgiveness and absolution because the joy and peace of Christ are the remedy to the restlessness we experience as a result of sin. He’s not perfect. Neither am I.

When I passed by him after confession, he had that sometimes stereotypical glow that Catholics have after having gone to confession, and it was cool to see him walk out of the church holding hands with his wife with a big smile on his face (she went to confession too!).

Let’s pray for our public servants, especially those in public office–no matter what level of government! That they seek what is truly good for everyone and that they answer their call to serve the public!

– JD

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