Today, a good friend calls to ask us to do an important task for him. He says, “Visitors are coming who know nothing of our faith; I want them to see Jesus, please show them Jesus.”
What do we do? What do we tell them? How do we show them who Jesus is? Where can we take them to find Jesus?
Is Jesus in the great cathedrals? Is he found in the churches? Do we see Jesus in small prayer communities? He tells us that: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among you.” Are these the places we take our visitors to show them Jesus?
How about taking the visitors to see Jesus where he dwells for those who are “Blessed by my Father?” He is always found and recognized among those who love, with the love of God. Jesus is the one who receives the love of God through the acts of mercy and compassion given by those who care for the poor, the disenfranchised, the lonely, those whose basic human needs are met by his disciples.
Jesus is the one who was hungry. . .
The one who was thirsty. . .
The one who was a stranger. . .
The one who was naked. . .
The one who was ill; in need of care
The one imprisoned; despairing and alone. . .
The righteous recognize and respond to those basic human needs with compassion and love. They do not seek to find Jesus, but only to love as He loves and live as he lived – with mercy and kindness for all their brothers and sisters. It is the Way of the Lord - not merely an action, but a life, lived in the Love of God.
His Kingdom is for those who act as he acted, love as he loved; meeting the basic needs of the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned – A kingdom prepared for those who love with his love - completely, without question, without counting the cost – for in their suffering we see the suffering of our Lord and Savior, the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ, the King and our hearts are moved with compassion and mercy.
Our visitors will find Jesus in the cathedrals, the churches and the prayer communities; there among the faithful who praise Him and give Him glory and honor, but they will especially find Jesus among those who dwell in refugee camps and slums and prisons and alleyways and hospitals – among his suffering brothers and sisters. It is here that they will see the face of Jesus in the face of those who suffer and in the face of those who tend to their needs.
Mother Teresa reminds us that we are to love the poor because “each one of them is Jesus in disguise” In them we can show Jesus to our visitors. Here is where they will also find him in the love of his disciples, filled with the love of God; doing simple things to serve the basic needs of our brothers and sisters. Jesus sees each kindness done to “one of the least” of his brothers and sisters as being done for him. He promises those who do work to help the least with love, mercy and kindness will share in his inheritance - the Kingdom of God.
As disciples, we are not called to solve all the problems of the poor and suffering, but to love them and do what we can to serve them in relieving their suffering. Again, Mother Teresa tells us, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Our love is not measured by how much we do, but by our loving as we would want to be loved.
Our visitors will see in the face of the poor and suffering, the broken body of Christ. In their face they will see Him on the cross. In their wounded-ness they will see his wounds.
The visitors will also see the love of Christ in the faces of those who are “blessed of God”; in their quiet and simple service to the poor, the naked, the hungry, the lonely and the sick – For the King said, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”