‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ Matthew 25:37-39
In this week’s Gospel Matthew implores us all to welcome the stranger. I believe however that it is also important to recognize that there are many who go about their everyday life doing these acts of kindness.
So the question is what prevents everyone from answering this call? Is it my own prejudices and fears or I just don’t want to be involved I have enough going on in my own life? Or because people are not like me or don’t have what I have do I feel superior and sometimes make a judgment call, “everyone has the same opportunity because they have chosen unwisely now they can suffer the consequences.”
Nevertheless those arguments don’t stand up as Jesus is clearly calling me to live the Gospel and therefore I am required to help others. So even when I would prefer not to have a conversation with someone or do something I really don’t want to do I know a few kind words or actions can make someone’s day. Subsequently when I see a need through an act of kindness I can make that person feel good about themselves.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach”. Matthew 23:1-3
My interpretation of what Jesus was stating to the crowd was that you need to backup your words with your actions. Sometimes it is all too easy to blame others for how I act but that does not absolve me of the way I engage with them. It is important for me to realize that my actions are a result of my emotions and they also effect how others react.
I suggest the key is forming positive relationships that can cope with negative reactions towards me and assist me in building up resilience. It determines my ability to manage difficult circumstances and not regret the way I act.Furthermore assisting me in demonstrating with people I am consistent and trustworthy and hence people know they can approach me with confidence. Consequently trying to practice what the scriptures teach.
In conclusion I think it is vital for me to critically reflect on what I do everyday. I believe it helps me to focus on the day and how I can do things better while celebrating the successes. Furthermore when reviewing the day I challenge myself to look through another persons lens and acknowledge were my actions compassionate and fair.