Were you one of those surprised by the recent announcement that the cause for beatification of a young Filipino named Darwin Ramos received the go-signal from the church?

He is now called “Servant of God,” and one day hopefully, “Blessed” and then later, “Saint” Darwin!

I was certainly surprised by the news. Who in the world was this future saint? I didn’t know him, so I did a little research.

Darwin died at a tender age in a Quezon City orphanage for disadvantaged youth. Before being admitted at the orphanage, he was a scavenger together with his sibling, at home in the garbage dumps, gathering scraps to sell and make money from.

Now that doesn’t make him rich, clean and attractive; not the type you’d imagine your own kids to hang out with.

When Darwin fell ill to a debilitating sickness, his father used him as a beggar in a Manila LRT (train) station.

So he’s not famous either. Maybe I passed by his side in one of my train trips without even looking at this paralyzed, emaciated, greasy kid with extended hands. Remember how we see such people in the streets and automatically shut our eyes… and our hearts… to their presence! Ouch!

When finally he was found and brought to an orphanage, this future saint lived unknown, uninfluential, insignificant until his death. But it was there that Jesus found him and he accepted Jesus in his heart.

He started sharing the Lord’s love through his smiles, his prayers, his concern for others, his cheerfulness and whatever else little thing he had. For he did not have much… or in fact anything… he had only his faith to inspire him and to inspire others.

When Jesus said, the last will be the first, and the first will be the last, it could well have been his most powerful and most serious statement!

The Kingdom of God is open to all! The road is wide enough to accommodate all his children. And yet, the entrance to the kingdom belongs to the least, the last, and the lost who open their hearts to Christ and commit their lives to following him in simple, little, and loving ways.

We are always concerned about who will be saved, just like the person Jesus met on the road. We have sure answers to those who ask about salvation:

If you are born-again, you will be saved!

If you attend Mass and go to confession, you will get to heaven!

If you follow the words of the pope, the preacher, the chief minister of your church, you are safe!

If you belong to this “true” church… or that “other true” church… or that other “only true” religion, you have the key to salvation!

The Lord Jesus said that many will be knocking at heaven’s door and his reply will be: I do not know you!

But Jesus’ heart knows only the last…

the people who are not able to donate substantial amounts to church projects…

those who do not dine with the priests and the leaders…

those who suffer from the indifference, lack of concern, and hatred of those in power….

the poor and powerless…

the last, the least and the lost, who are the majority of Jesus’ brothers and sisters on this earth.

They will come from north to south, and dine and recline at table with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

(a big thanks to those who share this in their social media)