A lesson on being Christ to each person we meet. But how do we achieve this?
In the Gospels, Jesus tells us how to help the needy, the widow, the orphan, and the poorest.
He demonstrated it by performing miracles and by his teachings. But he addresses it directly in the Gospel of St. Matthew 25: care for the sick, attend to the prisoner, the stranger, clothe the naked, feed the hungry and tend to the thirsty, bury the dead.
He left these tasks for us to do with compassion, love and devotion and in his name. They are not suggestions, but rather, mandates. How have we taken them seriously or how are we practicing them?
And what makes them mandates?
Because that’s what a true Christian ought to do. In response to these needs, it’s like we do it for him (Matthew 25), and he warned of the ramifications of ignoring them.
I’d like to mention an inspirational citation of St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila):
“Christ has no body now, but yours.
“No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
“Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with compassion into the world.
“Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”
Additionally, Bishop Richard F. Stika constantly reminds us to be “the face of Jesus” to each other. Something that isn’t as easy as it sounds is being Christ to each person we meet.
During my current personal crisis of illness, I want to share with you that when we hear Christ does not abandon us and he attends to our needs … it is Christ himself who will be there for you through the hands and feet of believers around us who are part of our family of God.
First there was my blood family, then friends and acquaintances, clergy and religious, fellow staff members and the people who make up our church communities and medical staff, as in my doctor and nurses.
I have been attended for the last six months by many people who have provided me with their love, affection, care and with their daily prayers; brought me Sunday Communion; offered Masses, novenas and promises; brought me flowers and plants; sent me inspirational cards.
Then they provided for my needs such as meals for three people for almost two months, tending to my yard, taking me to the doctor and translating, sitting with me when I have been able to receive visitors.
I’ve been really surprised, wondering where is all this coming from? I am humbled by the faith and compassion they have shown me with no expectation of reward—fully following the teachings of our Lord.
I do not have the right words to thank those who helped me and are now walking with me during my recovery. In particular, I thank my siblings and my children and parents who have been with me in spirit and those who have visited.
I owe a huge debt to my first cousin, “Lolis,” whom I asked to look after me during this time and who has been by my side day and night for almost six months. I am humbled by her demonstrations of affection, care and dedication to my recovery. This has been a great lesson of faith for me to see the hands and feet of Christ come to me in my hour of need.
Thank the Lord for his teachings and for all the believers who practice them.
Lourdes Garza directs the diocesan Hispanic Ministry Office.