Two paupers wandered from town to town, begging for alms. One was a giant who had never been sick in his life; the other was a cripple who had never known anything but sickness. The giant used to laugh at the cripple. The cripple took his mockery very much to heart, and in his resentment prayed that God would punish his cruel companion.
At last the two paupers reached the capital city. They arrived just at the time when a great misfortune had happened to the king. Two of his most trusted servants had died suddenly. One was his personal bodyguard, the strongest man in the land; the other was his personal physician, the most skillful physician in the entire realm. So the king sent couriers into all the towns and villages of his kingdom to gather into the capital all the strong men and doctors who wished to apply for the vacant posts.
The king finally chose one strong man and one doctor from among all the applicants. He then asked them to furnish proof of their fitness for the posts they were to fill.
“Your Majesty,” said the strong man, “Bring me the strongest and biggest man in this city and I will kill him with one blow of my fist.
And the doctor said, “Your Majesty,” bring me the most helpless cripple you can find and I will make him well in one week.”
So the king sent messengers throughout the city looking for the strongest man and the most helpless cripple. Luck was with them, for they soon came upon the two paupers. So they brought them before the king.
With one blow of his fist the strong man killed the giant. Then the doctor examined the cripple, and after a week’s treatment he made him well.
I find it a good story to ponder as the strength of the strong often proves to be their downfall, while the weakness of the weak often saves them. People don’t fall because they are weak but because they think they are strong. In our second reading today we heard how St. Paul was content with his weakness. He said, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” The recognition of his own weakness made him rely on Christ, whose power then became available to him.
May the Lord help us to be aware of our weakness, and strengthen us against it. May we, like Paul, only and always rely on Christ as he will never fail us.
— Fr. Dennis, July 8, 2018