There are many reasons to help people in need. But for the Christian, none is higher than this: when we love those in need, we are loving Jesus. It is a mystery beyond science, a truth beyond statistics. But it is a message that Jesus made crystal clear: when we love them, we love him.
A few years ago I heard a woman discuss this work. Her sixty-nine years had bent her already small frame. But there was nothing small about Mother Teresa’s presence. “Give me your unborn children,” she offered. “They are precious to God.”
Who would have guessed this slight Albanian woman would change thousands of lives through the Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded in 1949? Shy and introverted as a child. Of fragile health. One of three children. Daughter of a generous but unremarkable businessman. Yet somewhere along her journey, she became convinced that Jesus walked in the “distressing disguise of the poor,” and she set out to love him by loving them.
Do you know the parable of the sheep and goats? Matthew 25: 31-46. The hungry, the thirsty, the unwelcome, the unclothed, the sick, the imprisoned – somehow these are Jesus himself. When we care for them, we love him.