An old monk 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 overjoyed. Suddenly, 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 time to feed them. If he failed to show up with food, the unfortunate people would leave quietly, thinking the monastery had nothing to give them that day. The old monk was torn between his earthly duty and his heavenly vision. He made his decision, however, before the bell stopped ringing. With a heavy heart, he turned his back on the vision and went off to feed the poor.
Nearly an hour later, the old monk returned to his room. When he opened the door, he could hardly believe his eyes. There in the room was the vision, waiting for him. As the monk dropped to his knees in thanksgiving, 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 strong resemblance to today’s gospel. Like the disciples, the monk gave up everything to follow Jesus. He turned his back on the material wealth of this world for the spiritual wealth of the next world.
Like the disciples, the old monk learned that the best way to serve God is by doing something very basic. The best way to serve a God is to reach out in service to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are less fortunate than we are.
Sincerely in Christ,