"Then Peter said, `Gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk'" (Acts 3:6).
Those of us who know our comforting Lord are expected of all people to be aware of the unfortunates in life. Some have been crushed by events beyond their control, others by burdens too heavy for one person, still others through misguided decisions that reap sad results. It seems the whole world is on crutches, crippled by fear and paralyzed by uncertainty. This poor old earth is at the Temple Gate searching for hope and salve for wounds that cannot be cured by the so-called experts.
We meet these dear people sometimes at the foot of the Cross, and sometimes at the Beautiful Gate. At both places our Father is there. An inspired author shares this thought: “There once was a time when God saw the world lying like a cripple on the doorstep of heaven. God had something that he could not keep. That was his own life and love. The beggar asked only for alms and a cooling drink, but God gave him a Baby to love, a Man to follow, a Life to adore, a Spirit to dwell in his own wretched, crippled body and make him walk, and leap, and praise again.”
Our Beautiful Gates in life are where we meet humanity at its neediest and inhumanity at its worst. Here the Father of us all gives us the opportunity to share the real gold, words of hope and love aptly spoken like “apples of gold in a setting of silver." We have orange trees and whenever I read this verse I think of that marvelous time of the year when our orange blossoms are beginning to bloom, and they are mixed with oranges still on the tree -- what a lovely sight and smell, truly a gift from God!
The beggar wanted alms and received the gift of a full life. Sometimes in our prayers we want what we can see and feel, but God wants to grant us faith and more than we ever hoped for. The Gospel doesn’t promise gold and silver. We don’t get everything we want -- even an earthly father has more sense than to grant every whim of his beloved child. We are not promised immediate improvement or a guarantee of immunity from trouble and loss. What we are promised is pardoning love and spiritual peace for the asking. The gold is packaged differently, that’s all.
Turgeniev, the Russian writer, tells in his Poems in Prose how one day he met a beggar who besought him for alms. "I felt in all my pockets," he writes. "No purse, watch, or handkerchief did I find. I had left them all at home. The beggar waited, and his outstretched hand twitched and trembled slightly. Embarrassed and confused, I seized his dirty hand and pressed it: 'Don't be vexed with me, brother.' The beggar raised his bloodshot eyes to mine, his blue lips smiled, and he returned the pressure of the chilled fingers. 'Never mind, brother,' he stammered. 'Thank you for this. This, too, was a gift, brother.' I felt that I too had received a gift from my brother."