By: Eduardo Catalan
Like every morning, dozens of unfortunates are queuing at the rear door of the temple looking for charity in the good heart of Brother Joseph.
Is dawn. A sweltering sun has waxed their weather-beaten faces. The line is still short. Ghostly, coming from every corner of the city, the same wretched, anonymous paupers crushed by fatigue. Most of them don’t remember when was the last time they lay down in a rickety bed or they sat at the table to fill their guts with a warm meal.
When Brother Joseph opened the back door of the temple, they silently entered and took their usual places in the patio floor. The religious were getting ready with their masks and plastic gloves on. The meal will arrive soon. Junk food discarded from the restaurants around just before it decomposes.
A couple of nuns without their habits are singing at the highest pitch, handing little flyers with religious propaganda to the beggars who, laconically hide it among their filthy rags. Brother Joseph offers his daily talk. He speaks about sin, mercy, the greatness of God and the miracle of life.
That morning Brother Joseph had a revelation. He could see clearly that there would be no miracle capable to pull that scum out of poverty. A daily prayer could never set them free from hunger, disease and despair that overwhelm them. Nor would do the rancid food they are waiting.
Armed with courage, he claimed God: “Why, Lord, you allow so much suffering?
He faced Him angrily but, there was no answer. Later that morning, his mind cleared as he celebrated Mass for his well-dressed parishioners. He realized that the Lord extends His grace only to those who already had their financial problems solved. Those who had a good job, accumulated wealth and could buy luxury items.
When he fell to the account of the opulence surrounding him, he had to admit that he was in the house of God. And moved, he gave thanks for being His servant.
(*) La Casa de Dios
Translation: Eslatia Ibárcena