Scripture: Matthew 25:31-45
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave ME something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave ME something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited ME in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed ME, I was sick and you looked after ME, I was in prison and you came to visit ME.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for ——- ME.’
Thoughts by the Saints– From Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
“Whoever the poorest of the poor are, they are Christ for us – Christ under the guise of human suffering.”
“I am firmly convinced that each time we offer help to the poor, we really offer help to Christ.”
“When we touch the sick and needy, we touch the suffering body of Christ.”
“Jesus is the one we take care of, visit, clothe, feed, and comfort every time we do this to the poorest of the poor, to the sick to the dying, to the lepers, and to the ones who suffer from AIDS.”
“We should not serve the poor like they were Jesus. We should serve the poor because they are Jesus.”
Devotion: “I was thirty and you gave ME something to Drink”
In 1990 I led a medical team in a remote Bolivian village near the border with Argentina. A child was brought to us who was dying of malnutrition and dehydration. The medical team did all that they could, but they knew they were too late to save this child.
And so I found myself holding an infant in my arms, who I knew would die within a few hours. And as I looked at that child, I saw something, I sensed something, I KNEW something: It wasn’t a little girl at all. It was Jesus! I was holding Jesus Himself, as he was about to die. Like Mother Teresa and so many saints before have said: “Whoever the poorest of the poor are, they are Christ for us – Christ under the guise of human suffering.”
One of the most difficult things for me to explain is why I do the work I do. Even most Christians don’t get it. While I want to help people, that isn’t the main reason I’ve given my life to helping the poorest of the poor in Bolivia.
I strive every day to facilitate the cleaning up rivers, build bridges, do erosion control, or irrigation; and to bring safe, clean, clear water to Bolivia is because: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for ——- ME.’ I’ve come to believe that that scripture is literally, true; not figuratively.
Look! Look really closely. Look past the disguise of being a woman, a child. Look past the disguise of appearing to be a man or a woman; a boy or a girl. Look past the color of their skin. Look with the eyes of Faith and you will see what I see: It is Jesus! It is Jesus who is dying from the lack of good safe water. It is Jesus who is hungry and thirsty.
When we bring water to a Bolivian village, parched from contaminated water which vanishes during the dry season, we are LITERALLY giving water to Jesus, He so identities with the poor and needy, HE dies on the Cross of Thirst every time a child dies from waterborne disease.
You and I have the incredible opportunity to relieve some of the pain and suffering of Christ Himself.
“I was thirsty and you gave ME something to drink”
Rev. David Stephenson, Founder, Engineers in Action
Reflection and Prayer:
Reflect on the incredible opportunity you have to relieve some of the suffering of Christ Himself. YOU are relieving the suffering of Christ by relieving the suffering of the poor of Bolivia. “I was thirsty and you gave ME something to drink”
Think back to a time when you were in Bolivia, or whenever you were with the poor in the U.S. or elsewhere. Where did you see CHRIST suffering? Where did you see HIS pain?
And here is the cool thought for the day: “Where did YOU relieve HIS suffering? Because – – – you did! You are doing it right now! As you fast, as you collect donations for water projects in Bolivia, YOU are relieving HIS suffering.
And look with the eyes of your heart; look around you. You WILL see Christ looking back at you with a great big smile! You WILL see a look of gratitude. You WILL hear: “I was thirsty and you gave ME something to drink.”
Listen to Christ’s words of ‘Thanks’ to you.