“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
Matthew 25: 41 – 43
These two verses are among the most challenging, if not frightening, in the Bible.
Jesus is present among us, wearing a disguise – the garment of human need. Nor can we avoid him! Every time we go to a shopping area, there are people sitting, begging on the pavement or selling the Big Issue. Even inside the supermarket there are bins inviting us to donate food to the local food bank. There is hardly a news bulletin that does not bring us a story of human need and suffering from some part of the world.
We’ve all had to work out how to cope with this constant challenge, but we are still left with the ‘face’ of Christ among the poor and disadvantaged.
This pandemic has been a very hard time for many people, financially, as well as in other ways, but a significant number of us find our bank balances considerably higher than they were a year ago. We haven’t been able to spend our money in the usual way. The Government has spent billions of pounds funding the furlough scheme etc. Previously, this money would have come out of our pockets.
We are told that we need to ‘Build Back Better’. This is a good time to think about how we can use our money better and equally importantly, how we can also use our time and our talents better, in helpful and creative activities. The examples that Jesus gives in these verses are fairly simple things that most people can do.
Prayer: Living God, help us to see you in the faces of the needy and the disadvantaged and to respond as we would to you.
Action: Help to ‘Build Back Better’ using our time, money and talents