There is one question that both the righteous and the unrighteous ask Jesus in his heavenly court: “Where were you Lord that our deeds were done to you?” The righteous ask in surprise or curiosity that Jesus was in the marginalized for whom they cared. I imagine the unrighteous asking in a regretful tone, and wondering where they went wrong in their priorities. Since both groups ask in our Gospel, it leads to the impression that we human beings are not very good at seeing God wherever God is present. It might be more that we have a hard time looking at God where God chooses to reveal his presence.
We hear the affirmation in our readings today that God is the vulnerable person in our society. God is the prisoner in jail. God is the mother who struggles to feed her children. God is the stranger and alien who looks for a place of refuge. God is the addict whose life is out of control. God is in all those people that remind us of our human dependence and fragility. These individuals’ humanity is laid before us, and counter-intuitively, that is where God says to look for him. In human weakness, we are able to see God’s power and strength.
To look at human neediness is uncomfortable. If we ignore people who go hungry or without homes, it is easier to maintain a mindset that we have done things to deserve financial security. We can feel superior if we talk as if we have no addictions or never did anything wrong. When we recognize the humanity of another, we are not only capable of recognizing our humanity, but also we are able to see God in our weaknesses too. The fear that normally grips our hearts when we approach another dissipates in the awareness of God’s love for all of us. God loves us not because we are strong through our efforts, but weak and in need constantly of God’s love.
Let us pray for the grace to accept the weakness inside ourselves and others that we may see Christ. Where we see Christ suffering in the world, may we be moved to act for justice and reveal God’s love for all.
When was a moment you struggled to accept your humanity? Did someone else help you accept your humanity? Where have you found God present in your fragility and dependence?