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Friday, August 16, 2013
Three brief testimonies on the Gospel sentence that has been offered for us to put into practice during the month of August: loving by being attentive to those who are not part of our group.

The guava tree

A guava tree has been growing in front of my house for a long time but I’ve never been able to taste any of its fruit, because as soon as a guava appears, someone shakes the tree and it falls without maturing. This really disturbs me!

Another situation that annoyed me quite a bit: For several years I’ve been providing food to the street children who come to my door asking for something to eat. I offer them the food on disposable paper plates, which they inevitably discard with leftover food on the sidewalk in front of my house, on my car or on my neighbour’s property.

One day, after having offered supper to them, I recalled the words of the Gospel: “for the whole law is contained in this one word: Love your neighbour as you love yourself (Gal. 5:14) Then I thought, ‘How can it be that so many years have gone by that I have been feeding these boys and I don’t even know their names?’ And so I went out in search of them and began to converse with them. I asked them their names and became interested in their worries and concerns. They shared the serious problems in their families, which they have to face each day. I felt better after listening to them and I believe they sensed that I was genuinely interested in them. Now the boys no longer throw the trash on the street, but in the trash bin. And going back to my beloved guava tree, nobody shakes it anymore and there are so many mature fruits that I’m even able to share some with neighbours and friends. The miracle of reciprocal love truly envelopes everyone and can be a blessing for every human being!” (S. D. – Honduras)

He was an illegal immigrant *

I had hired Dominic from Morocco, who had been living illegally in Italy for four years. This job would have enabled him to obtain legal residence in the country. While waiting for him to obtain his papers, in agreement with our children, he came to live temporarily with us. His presence in our home opened us to new horizons. He told us about his people, of his traditions, his home the open meadows and his horses. . . He also spoke to us of Allah and of the goodness and justice shared by all human beings. It’s so true. Knowing someone more deeply and offering sincere hospitality can bring down century-old walls of suspicion and fear. (C.A. – Italy)

The birthday *

We had invited some of my daughter’s friends for her birthday. Given our economic situation, we couldn’t offer them any gifts, so we filled a basket with sweets and chocolates. I had baked two cakes and her brothers prepared balloons and colourful garlands. When the feast was over, there was still one cake left, the more beautiful one. As we went to bed for the night, Mabelen was a bit sad. The day before was the birthday of a girl her own age, who didn’t have a birthday feast. I suggested we send the girl, the cake that had remained. She lit up: “Not only the cake! All the garlands and balloons as well!” I was overjoyed, because Consuelo would have also had a birthday feast. (D.Y. – Argentina)

(*) The Gospel of the day, (Rome: Città Nuova Ed., August, 2013).

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