Wherever Suffering Exists, My Face is There

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_Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

In today’s Gospel passage, we hear Jesus picture the day of judgement in very vivid terms. Surprisingly, there is only one criterion for entering into paradise; kindness to the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the homeless, the sick, and imprisoned. In other words, we may be the holiest of persons but so long as we fail to help the poor, we would not enter heaven.

In the sixth station of the cross, Christ speaks: “Can you be brave enough to wipe my bloody face? Where is your face? You may ask, and I will answer; at home whenever eyes fill up with tears, at work when tensions rise, in the streets and remote places, wherever suffering exists, my face is there and there I look for you to wipe away my blood and tears.”

Learn to see the face of Jesus in the suffering. Help people not simply because you seek to be compensated but because you realize it is Jesus you are helping. Whatever you give to the poor may not come back now but it becomes a great treasure stored in heaven where no thief can break in and steal nor rust destroys. (Matthew 6:19-20)

We always have this tendency of showing kindness to very important persons in our lives but Jesus is saying to us today: “Whatsoever you do to the least (the smallest, the unimportant, the poorest, the minority, the outcast), that you do unto me.”

How do I treat people that are not important to me? Do I even respect persons I consider to be less than me in any way? How do I treat my workers, my domestic staff, or those whom I pay for their services? How do I relate with the less privileged, the handicapped, the frail, and the old?

In today’s first reading, God conveys to Moses His expectations of us as His children. He says: “You shall not oppress your neighbour or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.

…You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great. … You shall not stand forth against the life of your neighbour… You shall not hate your brother in your heart. (Leviticus 19:13-17). For us to merit paradise, we must treat others just as we want others to treat us.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, open my eyes that I may see you in the face of the hungry, the sick, the naked, the downtrodden, and the abandoned. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Study: Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18, Ps. 19:8-10,15, Matthew 25:31-46).*

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu


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