The Lord Receives a Coat
30th Sunday Ordinary Time
October 25, 2020
"If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset, for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him, for I am compassionate."
from Exodus 22:20-26
Saint Martin of Tours was a military man in the Roman army who was traveling on his horse in the province of Gaul (modern day France) when he came across a poor beggar who did not even have a coat to wear. Saint Martin is said to have taken his own coat and, tearing it in half, gave one half of the coat to the beggar to wear. Later, in a dream, Our Lord appeared to Saint Martin wearing a half a coat --- the one he had given the beggar!
There is a saying that goes, “What goes around comes around”. Sooner or later, whether in this life or the next, the Lord promises that we will eventually receive a healthy dose of what we have dished out to others, whether for good or bad or indifferent. From the first reading at Mass today (quoted above), we are reminded that God is watching to see how we act, or react, in situations where we have opportunities to do good with what we have been given. Sometimes our entire future, or that of someone else, is depending on how we respond to these types of situations. Saint Paul is very clear that when we show hospitality to strangers, some of us have unknowingly entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
Many years ago we had a (rather ugly looking) Saint Vincent de Paul large, rusty-white drop-off truck by the front entrance to the church. It wasn't the most attractive part of the grounds, to be sure, but we kept it there because it was beautiful in other ways. Especially, it was a visual opportunity to be mindful of the unfortunates that God places in our life paths.
Nevertheless, it was rather funny to observe some of the junk that would collect around the truck. The worst of it would generally show up after dark, particularly old stinky mattresses that would appear as if by magic regularly under the truck. There were times I almost renamed it the “city dump”. Now just imagine such a “donor” meeting our Lord in heaven, where he perhaps might “thank” the person for the lovely “gift” he was given, and furnishing his home in heaven with a similar donation! In any case, everything we give to others, whether money, time or “stuff”, will be repaid infinitely by the one to whom we really gave it to, Jesus himself.