As she was teaching in a church one Sunday morning, A woman who had suffered from near-crippling arthritis for eighteen years approached her. When Esperanza saw her she called to her, “Ma’am, may you feel healing in your bones.” She rested her hand on the woman’s shoulder. The woman straightened out for the first time in years. Life seemed to pour into her. The priest was infuriated, for Esperanza had healed his congregation member, in his church, on a Sunday, in front of his congregation no less. He turned to his congregation, “If you want healing from this woman, you can do it on your own time, in your own houses! I will not have this done on a Sunday!” Esperanza turned to him shaking her head, “You hypocrite! Don’t you read on a Sunday? Do you turn on your television on a Sunday? Do you cook for your family on a Sunday? Do you walk your dog and feed it on a Sunday? Why should this woman not seek healing on a ‘Sunday’?” At this, the congregation stood and applauded. The priest turned bright red in anger and stormed off to his office.
Esperanza turned to the congregation. “What is the kingdom of the Divine like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a small spark set to kindling. When it comes off the flint it is so very small, but when it catches it can set fire to the largest bonfire. All who are near can feel it’s warmth. It is like a baker adding a bit of sourdough to the fresh dough in order to make a magnificent loaf of sourdough bread. Just a little bit can go a very long way.”
After this teaching, she continued on her way through cities and towns. In one town there was a person who asked her, believing in a shortly coming apocalyptic future, “Are there a lot of people who will be saved?” She said to him, “Don’t worry about how many will be ‘saved’. Instead, focus on the work that I have taught you to do. That will certainly save your life. Love your neighbor, love your enemies, and live your life fully. There will be those who do not do this, and only worry about the numbers of the ‘saved’. They will come to the end of life and say, ‘Look at all we did in your name!’ when all they cared for was themselves. They will understand that life was not about themselves, but others. There is room at the table for everyone. All are welcome. You need not worry about how much room there is, just that you show all to the table. Sometimes you may be the one who needs to be shown, other times you may be the one showing.” It turned out that this man was a priest. He invited her over for dinner that very evening.
On the way to dinner, he confided in her. He was part of a larger committee that had been discussing her for a few months. He said to her, “The government isn’t happy about the things you have been saying. Even the president wants to silence you.” She said to him, “You can tell this committee that I’m doing the work the Divine has for me. I will continue doing what I’m doing until the day I die. If they don’t like it, they can come speak with me themselves. The government has always had a problem with people who speak the truth. I understand your concern for me, but when the time comes I will suffer and even die for the truth if the Government wills.” They continued on their way.
When they arrived at the priest’s house, one of his friends with extreme swelling and edema. Since many of the priest’s friends who had gathered were lawyers, priests, and rabbi, Esperanza turned to them and asked, “One of you said to me earlier today that it was unlawful to heal or seek healing on a Sunday. Is it unlawful to heal on a Sunday?” They just looked at her in silence. She placed a hand on his shoulder keeping her eyes on the crowd. He had a relieved look and then surprised look immediately followed. He excused himself and rushed off to the bathroom. When he returned his body had shrunk back to a normal size. She smiled at him and said, “If your child falls into a well, would you not go immediately try to get him out on a Sunday?” They just remained silent and stared at her. The man who had edema hugged her thankfully.
When it came time for dinner they were trying to figure out where each of them would sit. Since it was the priest’s house they thought he should sit at the head of the table. Esperanza took the opportunity to tell a story to them. “When you are invited to a wedding do you go and sit at the head table? No! You probably would take the seat nearest the back of the room unless someone comes and points you to a place of honor set for you. Then you would be honored by those who are at your table. You shouldn’t be seeking honor, honor is given to those who do not seek it. When you hold a dinner party you shouldn’t invite your friends and neighbors just to be repaid. You should invite all who need to eat so they can truly appreciate the food that is given to them.” One of the Rabbi who was sitting near her said, “Well that I can agree with!” She smiled and toasted the meal for all who were gathered. She then told an ancient story about a king who was having a wedding feast for his son. Many were invited, but all those invited gave excuses as to why they could not attend. The king heard this and asked his servants to invite even the lowest of the low to the meal. They did so until the room and tables were filled. The king found favor with these. Those who did not show up lost places of honor. When those who had gathered at the dinner heard this they contemplated the meaning of it.