5 Things to Know About Christ and the Least of These

by Mark Votava

9184320-revised

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invited you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me…  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do to me.’” (Mathew 25:31-45). 

1. Christ was in relationship with the poor, oppressed and marginalized

This teaching represented all of Christ’s life.  He was in relationship with “the least of these” in his culture.  These were his friends.  And we are called into these kinds of reconciling relationships with the poor, oppressed and marginalized also.

2. The least of these are Christ to us

They have much to teach us of Christ.  This teaching in Mathew’s gospel points to the truth: the poor and the least are actually Christ.  Do we have the imagination within ourselves to understand this, to see this, to practice this in the parish?

3. If we do not have genuine relationship with the poor, we do not have genuine relationship with Christ

If we don’t, we will never have a holistic spirituality because Christ resides in the poor.  If we do not have genuine relationship with the poor, we do not have genuine relationship with Christ.  If we reject the poor, we reject Christ.  If we are hospitable to the poor, oppressed and marginalized; we are hospitable to Christ.

4. Christ was poor, homeless, abandoned, lonely, misunderstood, rejected and suffered

We see so much of Christ through the poor.  If we do not know the poor, we will be very limited in our understanding of God.  The poor expand our imaginations toward the nature of Christ.  Christ was poor, homeless, abandoned, lonely, misunderstood, rejected and suffered.

5. Christ valued the poor and taught others to do the same

He was a friend to the poor, oppressed and marginalized.  He was confrontational with the powerful, wealthy and religious.  Christ valued the poor and taught others to do the same.  This is what it means to follow Christ.  The parish imagination always values the poor, oppressed and marginalized.

How have you invited the poor, oppressed and marginalized into your life?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1414672684&sr=8-1