SEEING CHRIST IN OUR BROTHER
How did Jesus behave? What does his way of working teach us about his relationship with his neighbour? Jesus puts himself before each person with the same unconditional love as God. He teaches us simply to welcome our neighbour because he is a chold of God – beyond looks or personal characteristics, culture, social position, religion or race: to discover his needs beforehand, put ourselves in his shoes, and make him feel truly human, worthy of being loved. Beyond his personality there is something in him that’s very important and decisive: he is a child of God, and what father doesn’t feel gratitude to one who does a favour or lends some service towards his child?
It is easier to give than to receive. Receiving something from someone places us before him as ‘poorer’, or in lesser circumstances. It’s always less humiliating to receive when one can reciprocate in kind. Receiving something without being able to offer the equivalent places us before our neighbour with the same attitude as we should present ourselves before God. The appropriate attitude before God is that of a poor beggar, because we can never offer anything to God that we have not ourselves already received.
God’s providence comes through other people; that which we receive through them is also a gift from God. And we are all instruments of that providence. Benedict XVI said that “Whoever is capable of helping others, recognises that at the same time, he is also being helped; the ability to help others is not of his own making, nor a reason for pride. This is grace. When we make more of an effort for others, we will then understand Christ’s words and make them more fully our own. ‘We are no more than servants’ (Luke 17:10) In effect, we recognise that our actions are not based on a superior or better personal ability, but in thanks to the Lord who grants us this gift.’
Do you experience the joy of giving and the gratitude of receiving? Do you recognise the benefits received as much from God as from others and do you share with generosity?