1995, Articles, Raiati

The Cloak and the Tunic / November 26, 1995

“From him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.” (Luke 6:29) These words were said by the Lord “on a level place”, on a plain, and have a parallel in the Sermon on the Mount as described by Mathew. Let us meditate on this passage of the Gospel of Luke, in order to understand deeply the teaching of the Christ. These words were preceded by: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” It is because your enemy hates you that he takes away your cloak. A cloak is an outer garment used at night, similar to the “abaya”, that is the eastern cloak. In the Law of Moses, the cloak is mentioned in the following context: “If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down. For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in?” (Exodus 22:26-27) The same is reiterated in the Deuteronomy chapter where it is mentioned that if you return someone’s cloak, he will bless you. Nonetheless, there are some bad people who do not return it. And we know the importance of the cloak for the Arab people who do not have woolen blankets and who cover themselves with the abaya.  

              If your cloak is taken, you have nothing else left but your tunic by which you cover your body. Without it you would be naked. However, the Lord says: “From him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.” You will be stripped of everything. Then our Savior continues His teachings by saying: “Give to everyone who asks of you.”

              You will have no weapon in front of others except the love you offer to them. They think you are vulnerable and they deprive you of everything, convinced that you have become unprotected. But your response shall be: I do not stick to anything considered as essential by all people, which is here symbolized by the cloak in the era in which Jesus lived. You say: I do not want what you consider as a protection from cold at night, for it has no value in my eyes. You say: you want to take my tunic so I would be without any protection, in complete bareness, a mockery for people. Mock as much as you want for you will not be able to add a single inch to your height. This weakens your energy of love. My cloak is God for I tell Him, with the author of the Psalms: “You are my hiding place.” Your enemy derides your principles, your mind. Nevertheless, this will neither make him greater nor make his convictions right. You are free of people because the heart of God is your place.

              In our country, the word “dignity” is of paramount importance for almost all our people. You take vengeance for your dignity because you think it is for your soul as the tunic is for your body. If it is taken away from you, you will have nothing left. But the truth is that you are wearing the dignity of God. Your enemy thinks that he is insulting your dignity; but in fact he is insulting himself. If God has bestowed His dignity on you, then no one can ever take it away from you. His insults and slanders are harming him, not you. He does not hurt you. He does not offend you.

              If you have been affected because of what you think is your dignity, what will you do? You will insult him and yell at him, trying to convince him of your dignity. This is a defense of what you think is a right for you. But, in fact, you are naked. No one can ever take away from you this great treasure that is your bareness. It is love that you are wearing, for God has covered you with His light. You are illuminated. Hence, you are illuminating.          

Translated from Arabic – 11.04.10

Original Text: “الرداء والقميص” – 26.11.95

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