So who are the “clean” and the “unclean” in American society today? The “clean” are easily identifiable. We see them everywhere. These are the people with homes, cars, the latest electronic devices, and jobs. They are the Hollywood stars, sports stars, the politicians, the clergy and the beautiful – they are the lovable and easily accepted ones. Who are the “unclean?” In short, these are the scapegoats in our society that make the rest of us feel thankful that “we are not like them.” The “unclean” are the people who are homeless, prisoners, suicidal, mentally ill, handicapped, transgender, gay, grossly overweight, bankrupt, physically deformed, HIV+, in hospice or are on the brink of decay in our nursing homes – they are the forgotten and the abandoned ones.
So let us imagine. If Jesus were here walking among us today, would we even recognize him? We must honestly accept the fact that he certainly would not come to us with pure white skin, a Midwest accent, the latest Dell laptop, a Ford Taurus and a WAMU free-checking account. Given the fact that he was poor and despised then and is now - would we even care about him? Would we welcome him? Across America, those among us who think ourselves “religious,” would we too despise him as “unclean?” Jesus in Matthew 25:40 states, “Whatever you have done to the least of these brothers of mine, you did to me”.