Brother Especially to the Outcasts

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Formation, Reflections

Shepherd and King, Jesus leads us and saves us.  He is a brother to all, especially to those who are poor.  He wants us to be brothers and sisters to all as he is.

Our Leader and Savior is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.  This, of course, means that he is our brother.

His prayer, for its part, makes clear that we are sons and daughters of one Father.  Hence, we are all brothers and sisters.  And we are so, no matter our church, religion, nation or social class.

And at the last judgment, these things that distinguish and set us apart from one another do not count.  For the Shepherd and King will use just one rule to judge us, namely, mercy.

That is to say, he will proclaim blessed those who announce the Good News by words and  by works.  They, in other words, help those who are poor in all ways (SV.EN XII:77-78).

And he will proclaim accursed those who close their hearts against a brother or sister in need.  And their worship has no worth (Is 1, 11-17; 58, 3-7).  It is right, then, that those who give true and pure worship to God do not fail to help those who are poor.

Jesus, our brother, wants us to be brothers and sisters to all, especially to the least of his brothers and sisters. 

Yet to speak of true worship does not mean we have to be aware of God when we do or not do good works.  The surprise of those who answer the Son of Man makes this clear.  They ask, “When did we see you hungry or thirsty …?”  For aware or not, those who do works of mercy do what God and Jesus do.  Hence, they cannot but be of God and of Jesus.

And aware or not, those who have no mercy turn their backs on God and Jesus.  For mercy is what God and Jesus are in essence (SV.EN XI:328).  Can those who show mercy be with those who do not show it? 

So, to see a brother who suffers and not feel for him means, in effect, not to believe in God.  It is to be a caricature of a Christian, not to be human, to be worse than animals (SV.EN XII:222).  To say all this in another way, not to have mercy means not to be true to God, to Jesus, to oneself.

But for us to have mercy is to be true, in the first place to God.  Due to his mercy, he wants no child of his left behind.

True, in the second place, to Jesus.  As he is our brother, he asks us, too, to love one another as good brothers and sisters.  And he loves us in such a way that he gives us his body to eat and his blood to drink.   And to thus eat and drink commits us to the poor (CCC 1397).

In the third place, true to who we are.  For to be truly human, we have to be brothers and sisters to all, especially to Jesus’ least brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus, our brother, give us eyes and hearts for the poor:  let us see you in them, in their thirst, their hunger, their loneliness, and their misfortune; grant us to contemplate and serve you in them and be one with you one day in your kingdom.  Help us to grasp that to reign, to be all in all, means to be lowly servants and handmaids, and to die for others. 

26 November 2023
34th Sunday in O.T. (A) – Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Ez 34, 11-12. 15-17; 1 Cor 15, 20-26. 28; Mt 25, 31-46