Matthew 25: 35 - 40
35 For 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? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I have been wondering a lot about who we, as Christians, are called to be in the world. It is a challenging issue to consider. There is so much happening in the world. There is so much need in the world. What are we supposed to do? How do we address so much need in this world? There are so many in the world so don’t see the struggles of others to be their responsibility. There are many who look at what happens around the world and don’t see that we have, or have had, any part to play in what is happening. Yet, the reality is that we are all connected, we are all interconnected. Frankie Boyle, the Scottish comedian, has spoken to the interconnected nature of our world in the following way, ”We invade their countries and justify it by saying that our way of life is better, then boggle at the idea they might think living here is great. We pay no attention to how our actions in other countries have precipitated the situation. There has to be something wrong with a world where the best employment option for a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa isn't being a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa, but crossing the Mediterranean on a punctured lilo, only to spend days dangling under a lorry so that he can end up selling lollipops in a nightclub toilet. Our indifference is staggering. For a lot of these people, their best chance of survival is to dress up as a Leopard and hope to get Twitter onside. Of course, the true existential threat to us might come from ourselves. If we can look at another human being and categorize them as "illegal", or that chilling American word “alien", then what has become of our own humanity? To support policies that dehumanize others is to dehumanize yourself. I think most people resist that, but are pressed toward it by an increasingly sadistic elite. If you're worried about threats to your way of life, look at the people that are selling the public services from under you. The people who will destroy this society are already here : printing their own money, printing their own newspapers and responding to undesirables at the gates by releasing the hounds." This quote by Boyle not only speaks to the interconnected nature of the world but also how we also impact others in the world. The scripture from Matthew speaks to our call as Christians. It speaks to the fact that we are called to see the struggle of others as a struggle of God. This means that we are tasked with working towards the alleviation of the suffering of others. We are challenged to see that when we help others we are helping God. It speaks to the understanding that what affects others, affects us. The reading from Matthew speaks to the deeply interconnected nature of both the world and our faith. The reading call us to lives of empathy with others who struggle and suffer in the world. It is in working with those who suffer and struggle that our faith is truly lived out.
God of all peoples, we ask that you broaden our vision so that we become aware of the struggles of the world around us. Give us the wisdom to know that we are part of a larger whole, that all peoples are interconnected and as such all person should be our concern. Give us the courage to look beyond our lives and to honestly see our own responsibility in what is happening in the world. Help us to see that you call us to work for all, not just ourselves. We ask this in the name of the one who came to show us the way, your son, Jesus. Amen.