Monday, March 10, 2014

"When did we see you?"

The Gospel for today (Matthew 25:31-46) contains the familiar "I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink", contrasted with "I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me no drink". The line that really struck me, however, was the question put to Him "Lord, when did we see you...?" I came to an understanding that the action (or lack of one) involving giving food, drink, clothing, shelter, etc. was secondary. The first and most important thing that has to take place is to SEE. Most people are like me, very good about responding to a need that is presented to them. Whenever we have a "special collection" for example as a response to a natural disaster or local crisis, I am very generous. The real challenge comes when there is no one to point out the need - when I have to see it for myself. When I go out in the city, for example, the homeless often go unnoticed, and I often rush by them without even realizing their presence. But it is not simply about physical needs like food and shelter. Howe many times do I encounter someone who needs a little time to talk? Parish life can be so busy that often I do not realize that a person just wants to be noticed and valued, like a family with a small child who wants to play with mom or dad. Neighbors who live alone are often left that way - alone. I simply don't "see" them. And if I don't see them, I don't see Jesus. I have to remember not to wait for someone to smack me in the face with a need, but rather to look for people in need so I can SEE that person and their need. And in seeing them, I will be able to see Jesus.

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