Monday, February 19, 2018
First Week of Lent
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Who is that “least brother?” It’s interesting that Jesus specifically points to the person considered the least, as opposed to a more general statement that includes all people. Why not say, “Whatever you do to others…?” This would include all whom we serve. But instead Jesus pointed to the least brother. Perhaps this should be seen, especially, as the most sinful person, the weakest, the most gravely ill, the incapacitated, the hungry and the homeless, and all those who have pronounced needs in this life.
The most beautiful and touching part about this statement is that Jesus identifies Himself with the person in need, the “least” of all. By serving those in special need, we are serving Jesus. But for Him to be able to say that, He has to be intimately united with these people. And by showing such an intimate connection to them, Jesus reveals their infinite dignity as persons.
This is such an important point to grasp! In fact, this has been a central theme in the constant teachings of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and especially Pope Francis. An invitation to constant focus upon the dignity and value of the person must be the central message we take from this passage.
Reflect, today, upon the dignity of each and every person. Try to call to mind anyone you may fail to look at with perfect respect. Who is it you look down upon and roll your eyes at? Who is it you judge or disdain? It is within this person, more than any other, that Jesus waits for you. He waits to meet you and to have you love Him in the weak and the sinner. Reflect upon their dignity. Identify the person who fits this description the most in your life and commit yourself to love and serve them. For in them you will love and serve our Lord.
Dear Lord, I do understand and believe that You are present, in hidden form, in the weakest of the weak, the poorest of the poor and in the sinner in our midst. Help me to diligently seek You out in each and every person I encounter, especially those in most need. As I find You, may I love You and serve You with my whole heart. Jesus, I trust in You.