Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Oh crap...it's poor people!

"Where I am, there also will my servant be" - Jesus Christ


People ask, all the time, "where is Jesus?"


It isn't a big mystery, though.  Jesus, His Church, and His saints have all been in lockstep on this question - Jesus is present most intensely in the poor and in the Eucharist


And so if you want to meet Jesus, you have to spend time in the presence of the poor and you have to spend time in the presence of the Eucharist.  Or you can avoid the poor and avoid spending time in the Presence of the Eucharist, and instead keep asking "where is Jesus?"


Although Christ says He is to be found in the poor and in the Eucharist (or perhaps because He says so) people avoid spending time with the poor like they are avoiding the plague, and they avoid spending time in silence in the presence of the Eucharist like they can't spare 5 minutes (unless, of course, it is time to binge watch a show, then magically a person is able to find 4 free hours a day)


So often when we encounter the poor - perhaps someone approaches and asks for help - we freak out and in our mind we say "Oh crap...a poor person...I didn't budget time for this...how quickly can I get rid of this person...how quickly can I pass them off to someone else?"


There are people who are more comfortable working with the poor than you (social workers, the Sisters of Charity, etc), but Christ's words and the instruction of the saints are clear - YOU NEED TO SPEND TIME HELPING THE POOR.  Talk to them.  Give them a meal.  MAKE TIME FOR THEM BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING TIME FOR JESUS

When you say to yourself, "How quickly can I get rid of this poor person who has just crossed my path" you are saying "how quickly can I get rid of Christ and get back to my plans?"


Do we just SAY "Your Will be done", or do we mean it?


The two ways we most clearly encounter Christ (according to Christ) are also linked.  Encountering the poor draws me to prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament helps me become more open to encountering the poor.  In both scenarios, the Presence of Christ is not IMMEDIATELY obvious.  At Mass, the Host, when elevated by the priest, still looks like bread.  The poor, when encountered, are dirty, grumpy (sometimes), rude (sometimes), inconvenient, and there is never a glow around the poor nor are there halos.

Trusting Christ when He says He is present in the poor is very similar to the trust that is involved when He says He is present in what still looks like bread and wine.


There are agencies that help the poor, and we need to be familiar with them, but not so that we can pass off the poor to "experts" but so that we can be familiar with all the ways to help the poor.


When an emperor asked St. Lawrence to produce the treasure of the Church, he brought forth the poor of Rome.  May we see the world in the same way