“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
– Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa’s quote is actually another way of saying Jesus’ teaching that whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to him. Let’s face it-it is easy to love people who are pleasant, who benefit you, who are familiar to you. It isn’t so easy to love others who look different, who come from a different way of life, who may seem rude or ungrateful. But God tells us to love them anyway. Why? Because he is merely telling us to share the love He has put into our hearts with people he wants to reach out to. By showing them love, they see the Jesus in us. They see Jesus’ grace, patience, kindness, compassion, gentleness, and concern. By seeking to love them, we only need to focus on the image of Jesus they have. We all have Jesus in us. After all, He did make us all in his image.
Instead of being turned off by whatever rudeness, smell, threats, bad appearance or other human barriers that separate us from ‘undesirables,’ Jesus clues us on a secret that makes it easier to love others-he tells us to realize that He is also in other people. By simply focusing on our love for Jesus, we would be able to overcome our human nature to love only the familiar, the agreeable, the pleasant and love brothers and sisters who are completely different from us.
This may all seem very easy to understand intellectually. After all, this all flows from our understanding of Jesus and we all know how kind and loving He is. However, actually putting this into practice is what is truly educational. We are made of flesh. We see ourselves first before others. We want things comfortable. We want things easy. And nothing is more difficult than focusing on the needs of others we normally wouldn’t care about. This is the ‘holy moment’ we can all find ourselves in. This is the leap of faith that transforms. Jesus, by commanding us to love those we’d rather ignore or hate, gives us an opportunity to lean on his grace and love instead of our own understanding and power. By actually caring for people who are down and out, we are given the opportunity to show Jesus we are letting his love power us and make us do things we’d normally not do. In other words, loving unlovable people is an opportunity to step out in faith and let Christ’s love move us. There are few experiences as powerful as this. Are you going to let Jesus guide you today?