“Caller Unknown”… the Body of Christ

by | Jun 17, 2022 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

If you own a mobile phone, it is safe to say you have gotten your share of “unknown caller” notifications. It is a very useful option on most phones. It signals the possibility that the caller is a spammer or a marketer, or both.

But it can also mean missing important phone calls.

I was waiting for an important call from one of my many doctors. But I missed it!

I forgot I had set my phone to send unknown callers to the marketer’s purgatory of Voice Mail. Sometimes I consign such calls directly to the marketer’s hell of the Spam Folder.

A biblical version of “Caller Unknown”

Jesus tells the story of two groups of people who asked “when”… “when did you call?”

His powerful answer was simple. You did or did not take that call from me.

The judgment scene in Matthew 25 was one of two favorite stories Vincent understood at a very profound level. (The other was Luke 4.  There he announced what his mission was!)

The first group asked when did we see you hungry, naked, in prison, or homeless. His answer … when you did not take the calls you did not recognize as from me.

The second group was told that they answered God’s calls in the calls of people who were outside of their comfortable and familiar calling circle.

The long tradition of taking “caller unknown” calls

As we once again celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, we should also look at calls made by Saints and Popes.

St. John Chrysostom focuses on the relationship between the Eucharist and the poor with challenging words:

Do you wish to honor Christ’s body?

Then do not look down upon him when you notice him naked among the poor; nor should you honor him here, in the temple, with fancy offerings, if when you leave you abandon him to his coldness and nakedness.

Because the same One who said, “This is my body,” and with his word made manifest everything that he said, also affirmed: “I was hungry, and you did not feed me,” and later, “whatever you failed to do for one of these little ones, you failed to do for me.”

Powerful words! Is this what St. Vincent had in his heart and mind when he said,

I should not judge poor peasants, men or women, by their surface appearance, nor by their apparent mental capacities. And this is hard to do, since very frequently they scarcely seem to have the semblance or the intelligence of reasonable beings, so gross and so offensive are they.

 But, turn the coin, and you will see by the light of faith that the Son of God, whose will it was to be poor, is represented to us by just these people.

Pope St. Paul VI...

“The real presence of Christ, which is hidden in the bread and wine, is visibly manifested in his social presence in the poor who are the sign and image of His ongoing passion in the world.”

Bl. Frederic Ozanam

“We should kneel at the feet of the poor and, with the Apostle, say to them: ‘You are our masters, we shall be your servants; you are the visible image of God whom we do not see, but whom we love in loving you.’”

Is this not what we see Pope Francis doing in so many ways as he travels the world near and far?

Do we really listen to the calls of the poor… or send their cries to voicemail or spam folders?

See also an excellent related visual presentation offered by FamVin

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk


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2 Comments

  1. ANN DENNINGER

    What a wonderful (thought-provoking) article. Thank you,

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