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Blessed Poverty… Poverty is no Punishment
THE GREAT GOSPEL OF JOHN Volume 1 – Chapter132 & 133
Chapter 132 – In the Galilean village of Hunger
1. There was much misery to be found among the people languishing under all kinds of oppression, especially in the markets and villages. Physically and psychically they were scattered and dying like sheep among the wolves without any shepherd. (Matth.9:36) Since I deeply regretted the poor people’s desperate plight, I spoke as I did in Sychar at the well: ‘The crop is heavy, but laborers are scarce. (Matth.9:37) Therefore, beg the Lord to send laborers to harvest His crop. For these poor people are ripe for the Kingdom of God and the field where they are is large. They languish and thirst for light, truth and salvation. But laborers, laborers. Where are they?’ (Matth.9:38).
2. Say the disciples: ‘Lord, if You should consider us capable, could we not spread out and each of us take a city or a market?’ I say: ‘We are now on the way to an extremely poor village. Once we have reached it I shall select the most capable and strongest among you and send you out into the different regions and places, and then you will be doing all that which I am doing and have done in your presence. But now let us hurry towards the village.’
3. In less than half an hour we had reached the little village where we found truly indescribable misery. Parents and children were walking about literally naked, covering their nakedness with foliage. When the people saw us approaching everybody, big and small, young and old, came hurrying towards us begging for alms, for they suffered great want. Children were crying, holding their hands over their tummies, for they were very hungry having had nothing to eat already for 2 whole days. The parents were in despair, partly from their own pangs of hunger, but even more so because their little children were asking for bread and milk.
4. Peter, who was very deeply moved by this sight, asked a staunch-looking old man: ‘Friend, who has made you so extremely miserable? How did you get into this plight? Did some enemy come and rob you of everything, even disgracefully ruining your houses as I notice? For I see only walls and no roofs and lofts above them and your granaries, which I knew, are completely destroyed. How did this happen?’
5. Says the man in a tearful voice: ‘O you dear and no doubt good people. This was done by the harshness and greed of the tributary king Herod. His father was Satan’s left, and he is his right arm. We could not raise the taxes which he had demanded of us 10 days earlier. His bailiffs gave us a deadline of 6 days. But what were 6 days? During this time the bailiffs consumed almost all our better provisions and on the seventh day – since we could not possibly raise and pay the exorbitant tax – they took everything we had and we only barely escaped with this miserable life. O friends, this is hard, immensely hard. If God does not help, we shall still today die of starvation together with our children. Do help us in whatever way you can. If only the wicked servants of Herod had not taken all our clothes we could have gone begging, but where could we go in this state? For our children it is too far in all directions and as you can see we are as naked as in the womb. O God, O God, why did we have to be made so terribly miserable? Which one of all our sins before You, O Jehovah, has brought such punishment upon us?’
6. Here I step up to the old man and say: ‘Friend, the cause for this is not your sin, which before God is the most insignificant in all Israel, but God’s love.
7. You were the purest in all of Israel, but some worldly desires were still clinging to your soul. God, however, who loves you, wanted to free you all at once from the world to make you fully capable of absorbing your heavenly Father’s grace. This has now happened and you are now safe from Herod for all times, for from those who have been completely robbed by his greed he never again collects taxes because those subjects who have been made beggars are struck off the tax register.
8. And so you see, you have been freed from the world at a single stroke. That is God’s greatest blessing for you and you can now begin to care for your soul in all earnest.
9. However, I tell you: Do not in future build wealthy looking houses, but erect for yourselves scanty huts, and no one will demand taxes of you, except the exclusively privileged king of Rome. And he demands only 2 to 3 percent. If you have something, you can give it. If you have nothing, you are free. But we shall speak about that later.
10. Now go to your roofless houses. There you will find food and clothes. Refresh yourselves, put on clothes and then come back here and I shall discuss further things with you.’
1. Hearing this all the poor people hurry with gratitude and faith into their half-destroyed houses and are amazed when they find the tables laden with plenty of good food and also all kinds of clothes for old and young, big and small and for both sexes separately. They ask each other how this has come about, but no one knows the answer.
2. When they find even their larder fully stocked, woman and children say to the men: ‘That has been done by God. He who in the desert had for 40 years manna rain and thus fed His children in an area of rock and sand where no grass grew. He would not have let us die since we have always prayed to Him. O, this is certain: God does not ever forsake the ones who implore Him.
3. David, the great king, prayed to God when he became wretched, and God helped him out of his great misery. God has never been known not to give a favorable hearing to those who sought His help. It would have been an unprecedented case if God had not granted our prayers in this our greatest distress, for God is always full of love for those who call to Him: “Abba, dear Father.” Therefore, let us from now on love Him above all. He alone is our deliverer. Our most holy Father sent us all this from the Heavens through His holy angels.’
4. Says the old man who happened to belong to this particular family where the whole village used to gather to listen to his wisdom, for he was well versed in the Scripture: ‘My children, friends and brothers. It is written: “From the mouth of the little ones and babes I shall have myself praised.” And look, here we have it before our eyes and ears. The dear Father has looked at us in His great mercy and had done this for us. To Him be therefore all our love and praise from the mouth of our babes, for the praise from our mouths is not sufficiently pure to be pleasing to the Almighty. That is why He has prepared for Himself the mouth of our babes. But now let us go outside to the young who sent us to our houses and no doubt knew what God had done for us. He must be a great prophet. Maybe even Elijah who is to come once more prior to the hoped-for and already long since promised Messiah.’
5. Says a little child that has only recently started to talk: ‘Father, could not this Man himself be the great Promised One?’
6. Says the old man: ‘O child, who loosened your tongue so clearly? For you did not speak like a child just now, but like a sage at the temple in Jerusalem.’
7. Says the little child: ‘I do not know about that, only that prior to this talking was so difficult for me and now so very easy, that I do know. But why should this surprise you, since we are surrounded by God’s wonders?’
8. Says the old man, pressing the little child to his heart: ‘Yes, yes, you are right. Everything here is a wonder, and you are surely not wrong if you even take the young Man to be the Messiah. For us He is certainly that. But let us now go outside to Him and dutifully render our gratitude also to Him in the name of Jehovah, for He was obviously sent to us by God. So let us hurry outside to Him.’
9. Now they all hurry outside to Me and the little children are the first to throw themselves at My feet bedewing them with their innocent, purest tears of gratitude and joy.
10. But I gaze up at the firmament and say in a loud voice: ‘You Heavens! Do look down and learn from these little children how your God and Father wants to be praised! O creation, how endlessly vast and ancient you are and how countless the number of your wise citizens, and yet you could not find the way to the heart of your Creator, your Father, like these little children! Therefore, I tell you: who does not come to Me like these little ones, will not find the Father!’
11. Thereupon I sat down and blessed and caressed the little children. And the little child said to the old man who called out in some confusion: ‘How is that? Why? How are we to understand this? Father, there is more than Elijah here, more than your Messiah. Here is the Father Himself, the good Father who brought us bread, milk and clothing.’
12. The old man begins to weep, but the little child leans his head against My bosom which he begins to kiss and caress, and after a while he says: ‘Yes, yes, I hear it, here in his bosom the true, good Father’s heart is beating. O, if I could only kiss it too.’ Says the old man: ‘But little one, do not be naughty.’
13. I said: unless all of you become that naughty, you will never come as close to the Father’s heart as this dear little child.’