10 ways we can still find Jesus every day: hidden in others
By: By Father James King
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final in an 11-part series “Spending the Day with God” penned by Father James King, a priest of the Diocese of Peoria on leave of absence for health reasons. On behalf of his readers who have discovered — or re-discovered — ways to encounter God throughout day, we thank Father King for these valuable revelations.
When God — the Son of God — came into the world He hid Himself by becoming a little baby in a stable. The following are 10 places that Our Lord or the Scriptures teach us that we can still find Him hidden in others.
1. Jesus in every child. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Mt 18:5). In receiving any child we receive Christ — and this is especially true of children in the womb, because Our Lord said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40) And aren’t unborn children truly the least? For they are the tiniest, and in our society their rights are not recognized.
2. Jesus in the poor. “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink . . . . I was naked and you clothed me.” (Mt 25:35-36) Because the poor will always be with us, Christ will always be with us. In the poor, Mother Teresa would often say, we can find and serve Jesus in a distressing disguise.
3. Jesus in the sick. “I was sick and you visited me.” (Mt 25:36) St. Pio of Pietrelcina said, “If Jesus is present in the poor, He is twice as present in the sick.” In the weakness and pain of the sick we find an image and a kind of revelation of Christ crucified.
4. Jesus in the stranger. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Mt 25:35) Our society consistently looks at immigrants — strangers — in political and economic terms. How different is the look that Jesus wishes us to have upon them! He wants us to find and respect Him in them.
5. Jesus in the persecuted and imprisoned. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) And “I was in prison and you came to me.” (Mt 25:36) Jesus identified Himself with the persecuted and imprisoned — both in being persecuted and imprisoned, and by teaching that what one does to the persecuted and the imprisoned one does to Him.
6. Jesus and the Church in the union of husband and wife. “[The joining of a man to his wife] is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.” (Eph 5:32) When they are united in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, a couple becomes for the whole Church an icon or image of the union of Christ (the Groom) and the Church (His Bride).
7. Jesus in priests and bishops. Our Lord said to his apostles, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.” (Mt 10:40) Through the sacrament of holy orders the soul of the priest and bishop is conformed to Christ the high priest so that they can act in the person of Christ in the work of sanctifying the Church.
8. Jesus in sinners. “For our sake he [the Father] made him [the Son] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). On the Cross, Christ allowed himself to experience a kind of separation from the Father so that we could find Him — crucified and forsaken — in all those who are separated from God.
9. Jesus in saints and holy people. “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” After an unbelieving man met the holy Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, he exclaimed, “I have just met God in a man!” The person of Christ and His holiness are found most easily in His saints.
10. Jesus in each member of the Church. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ” (1 Cor 5:15). Because every member of the Church is part of Christ’s own body, what is done to any one of them is done to Him.
As we celebrate the coming of Christ among us, may we also rejoice to discover that He is among us in many different ways in all those around us. How mysterious that in every person we meet, we encounter Our Lord Jesus Christ!