"Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’"
We live in a world marked by suffering—a world plagued by unforeseen loss, structural oppression, and never-ending violence. We incessantly witness the suffering of others as we scroll down our tiny screens, turn on the news, and drive down our restless cities that fail to house the weary and cold bodies, looking for the warmth of home. Our everyday exposure to the suffering of others makes us grow increasingly indifferent, as we turn our backs away from those in dire need to safeguard our own time and resources. Or on the other hand, we may feel a tinge of self-righteousness in our attempts to help, with insidious feelings of superiority lurking in the corner.
Between our mindless inaction or frantic workaholism, do we pause to ask ourselves, "Where can we find Christ in the midst of the suffering we witness?"
In the verse above, Christ unveils to us that he himself is the recipient of our actions when we attend to the needs of the "least of these." However, the unveiling here is twofold: Christ not only reveals to us God's loving solidarity with the "least of these," but also that the "least of these" are those who mediate the presence of Christ before us. They are not the objects of our charity but are subjects who reveal to us the true heart of God—a heart that breaks for and with the downtrodden and the marginalized.
To see Christ is to see the sacred in the people the world often casts off as irredeemable and insignificant.
Our relationship with God and our relationship with our vulnerable neighbors are intricately intertwined, for Christ continues to partake in the suffering with those hidden between the fissure and crevices of our broken world.
Christ is God with us, working with us towards the delivering of this world.
Christ is God with us, one among the vulnerable, bearing their weight of pain.
Where there is suffering, there God is.
Where there is suffering, there Love is.
Heaven meets earth when the highest (King of kings) and lowest (“least of these”) become one.
Art: Andrea Kraybill | "Come Closer" | watercolor, paper, 24k gold leaf | 2019
Practice: The Artist's Grief Deck
Good Friday calls to mind the excruciating pain of Jesus's sacrifice. Explore The Artist's Grief Deck (click here) as a way of processing grief.