I have shared with you that I have been spending some time in the writings and journey of Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Her passion for the poor, the unwanted, the unloved, and the uncared for was amazing and humbling.
One of the lessons she would teach those in the Missionaries of Charity was what she called, “Gospel on Five Fingers,” “You-did-it-to-me.” This lesson was taken from Matthew 25:31-46 when Jesus is teaching that He will judge based on how we love and treat others. In particular, verse 40, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me” (The Message).
In, Come Be My Light, Father Brian Kolodiejchuk shares that Mother Teresa, “wanted the Missionaries of Charity to remember the poor – not only to respect the dignity of the child of God in each one, but also to realize the supernatural reality of God’s presence in each of them.”
We have all read the Matthew scripture. However, it is easy for us to stop seeing people as people, much less as Christ himself. How different would our world be if when we looked at others we saw the face of Jesus? How would we treat the person in church that we have never met who sat beside of us if we saw Jesus in them?
When we are sitting with our friends in our clique and a person nearby is sitting alone, how would we respond if we saw Jesus in them? Would we dare exclude Jesus? How would we treat our neighbor, our co-worker, our client, our patient, etc.?
We are often tempted to see people as commodities for our personal satisfaction or advancement. We would never verbalize this, but actions often speak on their own. It is easy to ignore people who do not fit into our perceived needs. How would I treat people differently if I thought they were the person of Jesus Christ? The “Gospel on Five Fingers” is a lesson and reminder for all of us. The great commandments are that we love God and others. With this lesson, we may do both. “You did it to me.”
In ministry together,
Rev. Dr. Terry L. Moore