Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…’” (Mt 25: 34-36)

A colleague of mine recently told me how difficult it was for him to visit his friend, whose leg had just been amputated. My colleague did finally visit his friend, but was reluctant to do so, because he “didn’t know what to say.”

I can relate to this reluctance to show up and show compassion, simply because I know I will do it imperfectly. It is a selfish kind of fear, focusing very much on me and my “performance.” However, the Lord reminds me today in the above passage to go ahead and do these simple things: To feed someone hungry, to give “something” to drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe, to take care, to visit. He doesn’t specify how or when, but He does call me to do so, in the way I see possible, and when I am made aware of someone hungry, thirsty, lonely, sick, trapped, and so on. Some people, like parents, are constantly called to do these things for their own children, while others, like public officials, are called to do so on a larger scale. In my own position I might at least offer a word of encouragement to a struggling colleague at the office, or smile at the grumpy cashier at the supermarket, or give to a beggar on the street, or make a phone call to an elderly relative.

Today I humbly ask God to relieve me of preoccupation with the self, and give freely of what I have to give, in His grace and His light and lightness.

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