It is remarkable easy to find Christ in our Churches – all we need to do is visit Him there, residing silently in the Tabernacle. It is so easy that we perhaps take it for granted, since our direct access to Him is – for the most part, at least – unhindered. It is somewhat harder to remember that we can also find Him outwith our Churches – and much harder still, to actually do so.
All of us, without exception or exclusion, are made in the image and likeness of God, as a hymn from the Breviary reminds us –
‘In His own image, God created man
And when, from dust, He fashioned Adam’s face,
the likeness of His only Son was formed;
His Word Incarnate, filled with truth and grace.’
And so, there is something of the divine in every single human being – every person we see today, everyone we speak to or engage with, every one who does a service for us, serves us in a shop, lives near us, is related to us, goes to our Church; something of God is in that homeless person in the street, in the gay man at the end of the road, in the alcoholic woman at work, in the boss we cannot stand – everyone. Everyone without exception. Christ is in every single one of these people – not only the ones we like or love, but He is equally present in those we may have difficulty liking, or with whom we disagree in some way, or whom we might even be tempted to look down upon for whatever reason.
And as we all probably know already – it can be very hard to truly see Christ in these people.
But no matter how hard we may find it – this is precisely what we are called to do if we profess to follow Christ the Lord.
The Gospels recount many occasions where Jesus is looked upon with astonishment – usually by those who consider themselves to be righteous – because He spends time with sinners and those rejected by polite religious society; and at times, He is openly rebuked for this reason. But still, He welcomes them, spends time with them, loves them. If we want to follow Him, then no less is expected from us. And in doing so, we, too, will be assailed by many and criticised by many more for exactly the same reasons – yet we must do so, because Christ the Lord did so and we follow Him.
Christ not only reveals the face of the Father in Himself, nor does He simply reflect the face of the Father to those around Him and who follow Him – more than this, He sees the face of the Father in all those who come to Him; all of them without exception. All of these were created in the image and likeness of God – “and God saw all that He had created, and it was very good.”
God grant me the grace today not only to see Christ in the Eucharist and residing in the Tabernacle, but in the face of every single person I encounter, without exception or exclusion.
And in doing so, may they see something of Him reflected in me.