And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’ (Matt. 25:40 ESV)
One time Mother Theresa had a brief conversation with the representative of an organization that gave her an international award for her humanitarian work. The representative requested her to show him the five-finger gospel that she had been known for.
Mother Theresa took the man’s hand and as she held each finger one by one she slowly articulated the words: “You. Did. It. To. Me.” — one word for each finger. She then said that every loving deed we do to others we do to Jesus Christ, i.e. as if they were Christ Himself.
She went on to say that Christ’s love for us is also in our five fingers. Two fingers represent Christ’s two hands, two fingers represent His two feet, and one finger represents His loving heart. The subliminal image is Christ on the cross offering His life because He loved us. He. Did. It. For. Us. For Mother Theresa the whole gospel is in our hand.
“You did it to me” comes from Matthew’s account of the coming again in glory of the Lord Jesus Christ as King and Judge (Matt. 25: 31-46). The reading identifies six basic things that persons in our circle of influence may need: food, drink, hospitality, clothing, nursing care, and human company.
We are not being asked to address the root causes of poverty or save the world. There are those who may be tasked to address that. We are being asked to show the fruits of our Christian faith in simple acts of loving-kindness to our neighbor especially those who are under-privileged, under-served, and unloved — the “least of these”. When we do that, we do it to Christ Himself.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, create me in a mind-set that sees You in each person that comes my way, starting with my family. Kindle in me the love that will make me act and serve that person’s need. Amen.
For reflection: Would you agree that sometimes the latent kindness within us comes out only after we ourselves have experienced being in need and have received kindness from others? For example, losing one’s income and then someone giving us some financial assistance; being sick and someone bringing chicken soup to us; being a newcomer to a church and people approaching us and welcoming us; or being lonely and someone coming to visit us. Could it be that it is then that we understand what kindness really means and are then ready to be kind to others?