Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
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Fr. John and I sat together in wicker chairs on a warm March morning. Surrounded by the flowers, concrete buildings, and children of the Diriamba Mustard Seed Community compound, he heard my confession and talked with me for a while. At the beginning of my time on mission in Nicaragua, he gave me a few words of encouragement. He told me that when I go to Heaven, Jesus will tell me “I was in Nicaragua, in all of the children, and you loved me.”
For the next week, I poured my heart out to all of the children. It didn’t matter that I spoke English and they spoke Spanish. It didn’t matter what disabilities they had. It didn’t matter that I only had a few days to spend with them. I loved every child that I encountered and treated each one like Jesus. I truly saw Christ in each child as they were so quick to love me and everyone else on my team. We didn’t do anything to earn or deserve their love, but they loved us anyway unconditionally.
My time in Nicaragua taught me so many things, but most importantly, it taught me to see Christ in everyone. I realized that everyone is my brother or sister in Christ and we’re all connected in His Mystical Body. When I hugged a child in Nicaragua, I was hugging Jesus. This week, try to find Jesus within the people in your own life. Ask yourself how you can serve Him through them. He wants to welcome us into His Kingdom, but first we need to show Him that we love Him, especially through the least of His people.
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