Monday, November 3, 2014

Memorial of Saint Martin de Porres, religious

(Philippians 2:1-4; Luke 14:12-14)

Flannery O’Connor describes a vision of saints entering heaven like this: “There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs.”  The party resembles the kind of banquet Jesus recommends that the Pharisee throw in today’s gospel.

Jesus teaches that the way to heaven is to take care of those most in need.  God’s Providence uses ordinary people to assist the needy.  When people fulfill this plan, they can count on God’s blessing in death.  Then they may not be surprised to find themselves in the same company which they served.

St. Martin de Porres spent his life serving the most humble of God’s creatures.  He not only helped the poor but took care of the animals as well.  He is frequently shown as befriending a rat.  No doubt, he feels at home in heaven where the faithful poor surround the Lord’s table.  But there are others as well.  People like us who remember the poor not just with leftovers but with our heart’s desires.