Do You Really Love God and Neighbor?
There is an old Polish Legend about a king. It seems that he had no children to succeed him on the throne. So he had his messengers post a sign in every town and village of Poland inviting qualified young men to apply for an interview with the king.
This way the king hoped to be able to choose a successor before he died. Two qualifications especially were stressed. The person must have a deep love for God and for his neighbor.
A young man, Janek, way up in the Tatry Mountains saw one of the signs. He, indeed, had a deep love for God and neighbor and he felt a kind inner voice telling him to apply for an interview. But, he was so poor he didn’t really have any decent clothes to wear and no money to buy provisions for the long journey to the king’s castle in Krakow.
So, after much prayer and work, and the help of his neighbors, he had the clothes and provisions for the journey. After he arrived in Krakow, and was about to climb the Wawel Hill to the king’s castle, he caught sight of a poor old beggar sitting by the gate. The beggar held out his hands and pleaded for help. He was cold and hungry. The young man was moved. He gave him his warm cloak and gave him most of the provisions from his backpack. The beggar gave him a ragged coat in return. Then Janek walked into the castle gate.
As he approached the throne, he bowed low and when he looked up, he could hardly believe his eyes. The king was the beggar. “Why did you do this to me,” asked Janek. “I had to find out if you really did love God and neighbor,” replied the king.
Even though this is just a legend, its point is absolutely valid. The point is this…. you and I will be judged at the end of life on how well we served Christ the King in the least of our brothers.
Recall the Gospel that says… “Then the King will say… ‘I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your home… I was sick and you took care of me’… The righteous will then answer him, ‘When Lord did we do those things’… The King will reply… ‘Whenever you did this for the least important… you did it for me!’”