Ezekiel 34: 1-2, 15-17 + Psalm 23 + 1 Cor. 15: 20-26 + Matthew 25: 31-46

Holy Spirit Catholic Church: November 26, 2017

The Incarnation changes everything.

The 2nd person of the Divine Trinity becoming one with humankind

has changed everything.

The way we see God and the way we love God has changed forever,

because the Son of God has become human in every way we are human.

The Son of God, the King of Kings, has humbled himself to become one like us

in all things human, especially the “littleness” of our condition,

in suffering and poverty and pain.

As Son of Man, he lives forever in solidarity with all humankind.

Not only in his very being did the Son of God experience being poor by emptying himself of all divine privileges, but also by his social standing in the world:

born in a barn surrounded by animals, becoming a refugee on the run to Egypt,

as an itinerant preacher having no place to lay his head,

and at his death owning nothing at all—stripped of his clothing,

hanging naked from the cross.

In his Incarnation, and by his blessed Passion, the Son of God

has become one with all the suffering of the world.

He emptied himself so that he might become full of us, fully human.

In Jesus, God has abolished all distance between Himself and his Creation,

between Him and his creatures.

The earth-shaking result of God taking our flesh—------

the manner in which we treat one another is way we treat God.

This is much more than a moral exhortation to do good or be kind,

for we actually care for the Son of God by how we care for one another,

especially the least of our brothers and sisters.

So, St. Francis could say when he kissed the leper that he “kissed the mouth of Christ.”

Mother Teresa could say when she washed the body of someone she found dying

on the streets of Calcutta that she was actually washing the body of Christ.

St. Martin of Tours, after cutting his cloak in half to give to a shivering beggar,

would in a vision be visited by Jesus wearing the part of his cloak he had given away.

Here the love of God and the love of neighbor become one!

Thus, the 2 great commandments become one as we love Christ

in the least of our brothers and sisters.

Jesus does not speak of how good it is to feed the hungry or visit folks in jail.

Rather, his identity with them is total, complete, absolute.

I am the jailed one, he says to us. I am the hungry one.

He speaks and teaches and lives a kinship so mutually rich and powerful.

Because God has forever become human through the Incarnation,

a new kinship has been established among all humankind.

This is not a natural brotherhood, existing by the mere fact that we are all human.

This is a supernatural kinship that comes into being at a specific moment,

when the eternal Son of God assumes the fullness of our humanity into his Divine Person

in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

God’s loving act of becoming human has generated for God

a family of true brothers and sisters on earth.

Just as it is impossible for anyone to have God as Father who does not have Christ as Brother, so too it is henceforth impossible for anyone to claim Christ as Brother and God as Father who does not see themselves as the brother or sister of every human being.

We cannot claim Christ as Brother and God as Father without concrete deeds

of merciful love, for we are kin to every other human being.

Such brotherhood, such sisterhood, such total identificationwith every other person means that in the other I can see only my own flesh.

So, not only do we serve and love the Son of God present in the other,

but we also care for our very own flesh, we love ourselves as we love our neighbor.

The paradox of “living for the other” means we also live a full life by loving ourselves

as we love our brother or sister.

The Son of God’s identification with the poor has only one parallel

in all the New Testament.

The Son of God identifying totally with the least ones—whatsoever you do to them

you do to me---has only one other parallel in the entire New Testament.

The Last Supper. The Last Supper where Jesus identifies himself with Bread & Wine.

He takes bread, blesses it and breaks it, saying “Take and eat, this is my body.”

He takes the cup full of wine, blesses it and says, “Take and drink, this is my blood.”

So that when we eat this bread and drink this wine, eat his body and drink his blood,

and we are joined to the living, Risen Christ.

So that when we feed the hungry or welcome the stranger or care for the sick or visit

those in prison, we are actually doing this to Christ, we are caring for Him, loving Him.

He is present in the broken ones on this earth

just as he is truly present in the broken bread.

His glory shines forth from the humble people of this world

and from bread & wine---the humble stuff of this world.

So, Jesus’ command to “to do this in remembrance of me” connects with the command

to recognize his presence in the least of his brothers or sisters.

Thus, we remember the Lord by caring for him in the broken ones of this world,

the small ones, the least ones, the unimportant ones.

This is what the Church in the USA has done from its beginning in this country:

Opening hospitals to care for the sick.

Building orphanages to care for forgotten children.

Welcoming strangers from other countries into its loving embrace.

Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and

Establishing schools so little ones can be loved and cared for and given a good education.

The Eucharist is the source of the Church’s life in Christ and strengthens

the members of the Church to serve and love Christ the King living in the least ones.

Advent begins in one week.

Advent preparesus to receive the Son of Mary, who is the Son of ManSon of God.

The adult Jesus challenges us to love the least of our sisters & brothers & so love Him.

Our culture would rather us focus only onthe babe born in Bethlehem.

The Church prepares us for something more—an encounter with the adult Son of God, who challenges us to grow in our love of Himby loving Him present

in our broken brothers and suffering sisters.

So, instead of shopping more during December,

we put into practice creative ways to care for the least ones.

For we receive salvation by beholding God at our feet,

reaching out like a beggar for our love.

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi