Monday of the First Week of Lent
(Leviticus 19:1-2.11-18; Matthew 25:31-46)
Mother Teresa often called the poor “Jesus in disguise.” Her reason for doing so can be found in today’s gospel. Jesus himself identifies with the hungry, the sick, and the imprisoned. The poor certainly suffer a disproportionate incidence of these conditions.
But often in economically advanced societies the poor are well overweight. They eat too much of the wrong foods, and they do not get enough exercise. What can be done for them? Certainly people can model healthy eating and exercise habits and also encourage the poor to follow them. Advertising paid with public funds might also remind people of a healthy lifestyle. Public policy that provide opportunities for the poor to improve their living habits may be crafted as well.
Above all, we must identify with the poor. We not only have to see them as like Jesus but as our brothers and sisters. Then with both our physical and creative resources engaged, we will work out ways that will remove them from jeopardy. In these ways we will find ourselves called into the Father’s kingdom.