Living the Gospel: overcoming distrust

Two meetings in the ”outskirts of life” of Latin America. The effort to see Christ in those who need help makes you overcome distrust.

20140831-aI work as a guard in a Church in Montevideo, and sometime ago, upon opening the door every morning I would always find a boy dressed in rags, who would enter the church with the typical beverage we drink here.

My first reaction was one of suspicion and distrust, due to his appearance. I thought: “I hope he is not here to steal!” After some time, however, I remembered the Word of Life … so I started to greet him and speak to him.

He told me that he was homeless. One morning, seeing that he was all neat and dressed with new clothes, I asked him if he had found a place to stay. “No,” he answered, “I wash myself in the square with soap the Ministry for Social Development distributes. I don’t like to be dirty.” Then he recounted that he was a Catholic and went to Church ”to speak with God.” He had received his First Communion as a child. So I said, “Why don’t you come to Mass and then speak to the priest.” From then on he started attending Mass every day.

Since I had gained a bit of weight, I had many clothes that no longer fitted me. “Perhaps they would fit him” I thought. So I filled a bag and brought it to him. “Oh no, that’s too much!”he exclaimed on seeing the bag. “I need so little, since I live on the streets.”
From then on also other people of the community started to help him, convinced that every man is “Christ in person.” It was then that this man, who was now a friend, managed to find a good job (he works really hard) and rent a room.”

J. B. (Montevideo – Uruguay)

«A few days ago, on my way to the market, I saw a woman rummaging through the garbage bins and selecting the things inside. I stopped for a moment to look at her. She then said “The rich people throw away so much… but these things are still useful.” She simultaneously showed me a pan, saying: “This is made of good material.” “You’re right!” – I answered, really surprised at what she had found. It was a good pan, you could see that it had been used, but it’s one of those things that last forever. So we continued our conversation. “… this could serve to make pudding, and that other thing to drain…” and we went on and on.
She then showed me a holy picture of Our Lady which she had found in the garbage, together with a statue of Our Lady of the Valley, one of those tiny and really old lead statues of Our Lady.  “Do you know what this means for me?” – I said – “It means Our Lady is with you.”  “Yes!” she said. “God and Our Lady are always with me. They are always by my side.”

Then on seeing that among the objects, there were plants that I liked, she shared them with me and asked me to choose a branch, and still another… On arriving home I put them in water so they would germinate and be transplanted. In my heart I prayed:  “Thank you Jesus for allowing me to meet you out in the streets. Thank you for coming to see me. Please do not tire of looking for me, if I do not search for You in the outskirts of life.” T.S. (Cordoba – Argentina)



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