“Lord, when did we see you…hungry…thirsty…stranger...naked…ill…in prison” and minister to your needs?
And … “when did we see you and not minister to your needs?”
What a needed message for today when we are at such an impasse in our way of seeing and thinking! We, in turn, become stuck as we confront the systemic injustices of homelessness and poverty. Are we as effective as we wish we could be? What is missing? Is it not caring in ways that are of full benefit to another. Or is it not seeing- not seeing those who are desperate, not seeing God? Or might it be both?
As a pastoral care counselor, a patient asked me, “Why does God allow all the suffering in the world?" I reflected back that she was saying that she believed in God. She wasn’t saying that God was punishing the world. She had a way of seeing that others had not yet come to. I reminded her of a verse in Scripture that says, “God is Love.” She had placed herself in the suffering of this world, could she also place God in the world as a God of Love. God is thus present calling us to be sister and brother to each other. It is a deep call to be in kinship. It is God uniting us. That is the why and the how we are “kin”.
We CAN evolve into deeper ways of seeing, and, therefore, of being with one another-of being with the hungry and thirsty and stranger, of being kin. We CAN evolve in our Faith, allowing the God of Love to shine in and through us. When God’s Love is alive in us, and not just our own love, we see differently. We see as God sees. We respond as God responds with a Love and Justice that is life giving and love giving.
It is the life giving call of today’s Gospel – “Come, you who are blessed... Inherit the kin-dom…” Today, being the feast of Christ the King, we, as church, take the liberty to speak of a kin-dom. We are invited to see God in a unifying fashion, as Shepherd, in the first reading today. This reign must be of God as the second reading announces. We are not to follow those who draw us apart and cause division and neglect of our brothers and sisters, whether it be by law or by mean-spiritedness or fear. Thus, we do not see. Thus, we do not care.
May we allow God to bring us to that consciousness, not just change, through our spiritual practices of prayer and scripture, meditation and contemplation, as we come to see beyond our own mind-sets. We can evolve to more effective actions, yet to be revealed. And in prayer-ful dialogue and collective action the kin-dom of God will be made manifest. It will be a time of God, empowered with caring and seeing beyond where we see now. It is the invitation of today’s reading. Will we say yes and be the yes, to evolving in this consciousness? And it will be a time of great Thanksgiving!
Sr. Jo-Anne Faillace, OP