We see Jesus in all People!
I remember reading a story about an ethics class at a university. The professor came in and handed out markers and paper to each student. Then oddly enough, he put up a dart board. He asked all the students to draw a picture of someone they didn’t like and put it up on the board. Next the professor handed out some darts and all were invited to throw darts at the people they didn’t like.
After a few minutes, all the darts were thrown and people had a grand time. Then the professor pulled all the darts of then started taking the pictures off one by one. He did this until the last page was left on the board, and what was revealed was clearly an image of Jesus. The professor said to the students that no matter who you meet, no matter who they are, they are Jesus. Then he walked out of the room.
I believe the gospel reading for this week highlights the fact whomever we meet, that person is actually a child of God, and we should see Jesus reflected in their faces. When I was in formation for the diaconate, this gospel pas-sage came up over and over again in our formation, no matter what particular course we were taking. This came up so often because it speaks to the heart of mission, and after everything is said and done and Jesus returns in glory, this is how we will be judged. We will have to answer one basic question which is: When you saw someone in need, did you respond to their need? Pope Francis describes it in this way: “At the end of the world, we will be judged,” he said. “And what will the questions be that the judge will ask?” They are listed in Matthew 25: 35-36: Did you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner?” Matthew 25 speaks to the heart of our call to mission into the world, and our need to reach out to those in need, wherever we encounter them.
We know Matthew 25 well. the most important word in it is ‘I’. Jesus identifies himself with the people he is talking about. He doesn’t just say people were in prison and you visited them or sick, or naked. He says it is ‘I’ who am in prison, sick and naked. It’s even more than being a brother or sister of Jesus. He identified totally with each of us, especially in need.
It goes back that we are all made in the image of God. Jesus sees right though us to see God. God is the divine life in each person. So is Jesus. That makes the difference. We don’t help the needy person only because he or she is needy, but because each is in the image of God and Jesus sees him or her and says, ‘that’s me’. It is only then that God’s kingdom is revealed and is made present in this world. We truly are the hands and feet of God.
God bless you all, Deacon Dan MacDonald