Life on the Margins: Feeding Jesus
Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~ Matthew 25:31-46
When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political, or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread. ~ Desmond Tutu
This teaching from Jesus is one that certainly covers many marginalized people in the world, not simply the hungry.
You will often hear comments about social justice issues being "political." Well, if so, then I guess Jesus was political. He seems pretty clear here.
Jesus connects himself directly with the marginalized. If you feed the hungry, you are feeding him.
As I've already mentioned in a previous post, Jesus himself lived on the margins. He came from a family that was not well-to-do. He lived an itinerant life, depending on food and other necessities from followers who were well off. He lived a life that likely did not have proper healthcare. He was always in danger from imprisonment, and would eventually be unjustly imprisoned and executed by the state.
So, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or visit the sick or imprisoned could literally mean feeding, clothing or visiting Jesus.
But it also means the Christ that is found in everyone: that the risen Christ continues to be present in this world and present in the hearts of all followers.
And that care for them is the same as caring for him.
Questions for thought: Who in your life is hungry? If you don't know someone, where can you look? How can you personally hear the story of one who does not have enough food?
Pray: Ask God to lead you to the assistance of someone in need - to see their face, to know their name, to hear their story.