Christ will not deceive us. That is why our lives must be woven around the Eucharist. The Christ who gives of Himself to us under the appearance of bread and the Christ who is hidden under the distressing disguise of the poor, is the same Christ. Because of this, we missionaries are not simply social workers. A Christian cannot say, “I am a social worker.” It isn’t just doing a little social work. If we Christian men and women believe that we are feeding a hungry Christ and clothing a naked Christ, we are contemplatives from the very center of our homes, our lives, and our world. That is why I define our Missionaries of Charity as contemplatives in the heart of the world twenty-four hours a day.
Christ has not deceived us. He has made this a condition for our future life in heaven. "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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, 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 ... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:31-46)
When Jesus came into the world, He loved it so much that He gave His life for it. He wanted to satisfy our hunger for God. And what did He do? He made Himself the Bread of Life. He became small, fragile, and defenseless for us. Bits of bread can be so small that even a baby can chew it, even a dying person can eat it. He became the Bread of Life to satisfy our hunger for God, our hunger for love.
As if that were not enough, He Himself took on our human condition. He became hungry. He became naked. He became the poor one dying in our streets, so that we could satisfy our hunger for human love by loving Him. This is not something which is imaginary. It is not something out of the ordinary. God comes to us in human love so that we can love Him with our hearts. He wants us to love Him in those who are hungry, in those who are naked, in those who are homeless. This is what you and I are called to do. We must learn to pray steadfastly of this call.
The work that each one of you carries out on your families for those you love is an expression of your love for God. Love starts at home. For your love to be real, it cannot waver at home.
What will you do with your Homeless in America?
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