Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.
Imagine seeing Jesus as he shivers in the cold. You have an extra coat in the car, so you pull over, step out of your car, and hand Jesus the coat. You help him put it on, and he looks back at you, smiles, and says, “Thank you.” What an honor that would be!
It’s not always that easy, however. Sometimes we struggle to care for people in need because they do not “look like” the Lord. Sometimes people don’t respond to our efforts with gratitude. In Scripture, Jesus tells us that whether people look and act like Jesus or not, “these least brothers” are the very people God calls us to love. In fact, Jesus identifies with them so closely that he promises eternal life to those who care for the sick, the hungry, and the prisoners. By using these extreme examples, Jesus proclaims the great dignity of every person and gives us the foundation for every act of justice.
Every person, no matter how weak or strong, poor or rich, has immeasurable value to God. Simply because we are created in God’s image and likeness, we all possess the dignity and goodness of the One who made us. That’s why whatever we do for each other, we do for him. And that’s why we need to view everyone from God’s point of view—one of value and esteem. He loves everyone, even people who don’t look worthy or holy or resemble Jesus at all. Even they deserve love and respect. And that’s very good news, because aren’t we all the “least” worthy at times?
Today you will encounter many different people. You may find it easy to recognize the presence of Jesus in some. With others, perhaps with the “least” impressive, you may struggle to see their dignity. At times you may even doubt your own worth. But God always sees what is good in his children. He sees every one of us with the unflagging affection of a devoted parent. Even the “least” of us. Even you.
word among us