Love consists in sharing
what one has
and what one is
with those one loves.
Love ought to show itself in deeds
more than in words.
~St. Ignatius of Loyola
Today's Gospel is Jesus' famous discourse on the Sheep and the Goats. The scene is familiar: at the final judgement, the King will come and separate the gathered assembly based, not on one's sense of righteousness or religious profession but, rather, on the deeds that shows forth the fruits of faith.
The sheep, finding themselves heirs to the Kingdom, will ask the king, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?" The response is simple, picked up and lived out by countless saints: "...whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did it to me."
There is a television show I have caught glimpses of called Undercover Boss. The show follows an executive or owner of a company as she conceals her identity and assumes some sort of entry-level position. The clandestine boss, having inserted herself into the midst of the corporate culture, apparently learns a great deal of what it is like to work in her corporation, what the employee culture is like, and how employees treat one another.
Surely, we are all on our best behavior when the boss is around. But, one might ask, how do we act toward our custodial staff? Facilities workers? Those 'least' jobs that ensure smooth running of the operation? Does it often cross our mind that these jobs - positions we often take for granted as being somehow beneath us - are essential for any organization? Yet, how easy it is to take these people for granted and to mistreat them.
Today's Gospel reminds us to be aware of the Anonymous Christ who comes to us in countless forms. With each encounter each day, we are facing a person who is a bearer of God's presence in the world. We need not feel some pressure to find some one or other sacred place where we must encounter Christ...we need only to open our eyes to see Christ's presence always already before us. Given eyes of faith to see the face of Christ, may we always hear the call to reach out and help those in need, feel the invitation to be a loving presence to those counted least in our human family, and take joy in knowing that when we minister to the least do so for God's greater glory.