When I was a young boy, my religion teacher told me a story which can never forget. It is the story of St. Martin of Tours.
My teacher told me that one time, St, Martin of Tours met a beggar who was very dirty and asking for alms. St. Martin had nothing, in his pocket. The only thing that he could offer was his cloak. But he said, ‘IF I give you my cloak, | will have no cloak” So he took his sword, cut his cloak in half and gave one half to the beggar.
That same night, St. Martin had a dream where he saw Jesus wearing the other half of his cloak.
I thought it was a fairy tale. I thought it was Jesus coming in disguise. I thought it was one of the fairy tale stories which featured a frog who turned out to be a prince, or a rag-clad Cinderella who was transformed into a beautiful woman. But the Gospel today proves to us that Jesus does not come with a disguise Jesus is the poor, Jesus is the prisoner, Jesus is the one who is thirsty. There are no disguises which convey the notion that a person is not what he actually is. If we say that Jesus is disguising, it will mean that it is not Jesus but he just appears to be like Jesus.
What the Lord is telling us is not to be interpreted that way. The Lord is telling us, “It is I, I am not coming in disguise. It is I who is coming to you; in the poor, in the neglected, in the marginalized”
Sadly, however, so many of us find it very difficult to understand this, or maybe, we simply refuse to understand.
It might be so because we would rather enjoy praying the rosary than attending to the poor. We would rather enjoy hearing Mass in the air-conditioned church like the EDSA Shrine than reach out to the people in Smokey Mountain, in Payatas, in Commonwealth.
Unfortunately, we are missing the whole point. If we will continue this way, then Karl Marx will rise from the dead and scoff at us that truly, religion is the opium of the people. Religion is not the opium of the people. Religion should make us aware, aware of the needs of the poor.
LOVE THE POOR
Only Jesus, Always Jesus