2003-01-07 05:43:01 (UTC)

servants of the rich

IT is true that we are a simple family. My father, he is a
farmer. He lives only to tend the field that is not even
his. My mother goes to the market everyday to sell the
crops that have been harvested. And I, I am their simple
daughter who tags along to the market. I sit down and try
to interest the people in buying our vegetables and fruits.
I shout and bargain. A typical market vendor.

It is true that we are a simple family. But I have a
brother. And he is learned. He is the brightest man in our
town. He wants to become a priest.

"I want to be a priest, Ate," he told me once while we were
walking along a creek. "I want to serve God. Serve the
people. I want to be the servant of all men."

"We are already the servants of the rich, Paolo," I said
somewhat bitterly. Mud stained the soles of my feet. It
rained terribly the night before. Many people from other
parts of the country lost their homes or drowned, I was
told. "There will be no difference if you become a priest,"
I continued. "You will still be poor."

"But this is not about the money," he said. "Ate, I want to
be a servant. A servant to the poor. A servant to the weak,
the needy, the oppressed. I want to help them by showing
them God's love."

I was adamant. "There is no point being a priest!"

But my father thought otherwise. "A priest," he said when
Paolo broke the news to him. He marinated in the thought
for a while.

A few days later, when the sun was high and the heat
scorched even the worms that burrowed underneath the soil,
Father placed a hand on Paolo's shoulder. He was smiling.
Then he said, "A priest. What a great idea. That way we
know that the chickens we send to the church end inside
your stomach and not on some fat priest's."

And so it was with these words that Paolo went into the
seminary. His hair was combed properly. His clothes were
neat. And mother showered him with kisses.

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