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Jesus is in your hunger. He is in your sickness. He is in your loneliness. He is in your fear and pain. He is locked up with you and He shares in the shame of your nakedness. That’s what He tells us in today’s Gospel from Matthew 25:31-46. We often have the misconception that we could pray better if we could just get rid of this headache, or if we did not feel the burden of failure or the shame of sin. We imagine that we could impress God if we could overcome our own hunger and feel powerful and successful then we would feel that He loved us and would pay attention to us. We would feel worthy of Him. In other words, if we were more like angels and less like human beings, then Jesus would want to be close to us. But Jesus reminds us that He became human and suffered the afflictions of our humanity. He suffered hunger and thirst, loneliness, estrangement, sickness, nakedness and even imprisonment. And He went to those places and remains in those places in order to be with us. That means that in the worst experiences of our lives we are never alone. And how do we find Him there? We don’t have to stir up a particular feeling or have a clever idea. Even when we are afflicted by the flu our minds hardly work, let alone when we are weighed down by cancer and chemotherapy. But if we can have the courage to feel our suffering and simply be present to the aching weakness of our humanity, we are getting an experience of the inside of the Heart of Jesus. And if you are not afflicted in these ways, find someone who is. Let that person tell you what it feels like to be inside of Jesus.

Fr. Boniface is the Director of Spiritual Formation for Saint Vincent Seminary and Programming Manager for We Are One Body (WAOB®) radio.

 

 


 

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