I read an article about an old monk who prayed many years for a vision from God to strengthen his faith, but it never came. He had almost given up hope when, one day, a vision appeared. The old monk was very happy.
But then, right in the middle of the vision, the monastery bell rang. This meant it was time to feed the poor who gathered daily at the monastery gate. It was the old monk's turn to feed them. If he didn't show up, the poor would leave quietly, thinking the monastery had nothing to give them that day.
The old monk was torn between feeding the poor or worshipping the vision. With a heavy heart, he turned his back on the vision and went to feed the poor. Nearly an hour later, the monk returned to his room and much to his disbelief, the vision was waiting for him. As the monk thankfully dropped to his knees, the vision said to him, "My son, had you not gone off to feed the poor, I would not have stayed."
This story has a striking resemblance to today's gospel. Like the disciples, the monk gave up everything to follow Jesus. And like the disciples, after doing this, he learned the most important spiritual lesson of his life. The monk learned that the best way to serve God is not necessarily to give everything up and isolate ourselves in prayer. The best way to serve God is to reach out in service to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are in need.
Sincerely in Christ,