Walking with the Crucified

Deon used to come to mass almost daily with his wild eyes beaming and flashing a big, toothy grin. He especially seemed to love coming into the church in the middle of my homily and calling out at the top of his voice, “HI, FATHER!” He was clearly suffering from some form of mental illness, and there were numerous stories as to its cause. Some said that he had a breakdown, when his mother died earlier that year. Others said that a machete chop to the head as a teenager left permanent damage. Regardless of why Deon was how he was, we all squirmed uncomfortably when he was around, thinking him a “loose cannon” and never being quite sure what he would do when he walked in.