The question today is where do we find Jesus? We can find Jesus in many places. Here in the Eucharist, when the priest holds up the host. It is Jesus here with us. How is that possible? Because we copy the words of Jesus. Jesus said, “Any time you use bread and use my words, ‘This is my body.’ The bread is changed.” It becomes Jesus’s Body. Jesus’s power works to make that happen. Then we say “The Body of Christ”; it means the person of Jesus Christ. When the priest gives you Holy Communion, he says “The Body of Christ” and puts the host into your hand. Look there; that is Jesus really himself, why? So you can eat Him. When you eat the host, Jesus is able to come and rest in your body, rest in your person. He comes into you, close to your heart. Where do we find Jesus Christ? We find him in the Eucharist and in ourselves also.
Then we can find Jesus in the Bible. You want to know who is Jesus, what is the story of his life; we can read it in the Bible. Also we can see the words of Jesus himself there. We read from the Bible here in Church, and we say this is “The Word of the Lord.” The words of the Lord Jesus are there. We can know Jesus more clearly, know him more closely because Jesus’s words are in the Bible. You want to find Jesus, study the story of his life; we read it in the Bible. Jesus is here with us in the Bible; study the stories from the Bible. Then you know He is here with us in the Bible.
Then when you pray, sit down or kneel down; then be quiet; use your imagination. Imagine Jesus sitting next to you. You can talk to Him. You do not need formal, fancy prayers always. Have a simple, honest conversation with Jesus who is here. Jesus our friend wants to be with us. He wants us to know He is here with us when we pray. Use your imagination to see Jesus sitting there, talk with him, one friend with another friend. Talk with him; he is here with us.
Today we learn that Jesus is where? In people who need help. [To read the words of the gospel, click here.] The story from the gospel today tells us that Jesus called people together and said, “You are good people, why? I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty, you gave me water to drink. I was naked and you gave me clothes. You visited me when I was sick.” What does it mean? Those people found Jesus when they took care of people who needed help.
A suggestion: see another person who needs help; use your imagination; see the face of Jesus in that person. Think: that person is Jesus Christ now for me. Jesus talks about giving food to hungry people; today most people have enough food. For some it is a little difficult getting enough food, but most people have enough food. People are hungry for other things. They are hungry to learn; they want to know they are important; they want companionship; they want friendship; they want to know someone is interested in them, cares for them. People are thirsty for love. People who are naked; what does that mean? People feel depressed, sad, lonesome, alone. They want to know someone is close. Give them something very important. Give conversation, give caring, give attention. People who are sick, people who are in prison, who are they? Many people are stuck at home, afraid to go out, afraid to travel on the subways or buses now. Call them up, video phone them. Call them; help them to know you still want to be connected with them, you still want to be in touch with them; they are very important to you.
Doing all that is easy? Not always so easy; sometimes it is hard. Sometimes paying attention to people is not always easy. But you know that person is Jesus. You want to know Jesus. Know him in the person who needs help. Always easy? Not always easy. But necessary.
Jesus wants to invite you to come into his kingdom, sit with him in his heavenly kingdom and become more and more like Jesus Christ, kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving. Join Jesus in his heavenly kingdom forever.
Let me end with a story; I think I told you this story before; it has an Irish background. There was a king; he was becoming old and had no children. He needed to find someone good to replace him and become the next king. So he announced to all the people in his kingdom that he wanted someone to become the next king, but the person had to truly love God and love other people. So the announcement went out inviting people to come. Far away in a small village in that kingdom, there was a young man, a fine young man. And the people there said to him, “You should go to see the king. You love God and you love other people. Maybe you could become the next king.” The young man said he did not have very fancy clothes to meet a king; he did not have enough money to buy food for such a long journey. The people in the town collected enough money to buy some nice clothes and enough food for him to journey to see the king. So the young man went to see the king. When he finally came close to the castle, he saw an old man sitting by the road begging; the old man was thin and clearly hungry; his clothes were old and ragged. The old man was begging, “Please, you have nice clothes, give me some of your clothes. You have a lot of food, give me some of your food.” The young man thought, “If I give the old man my clothes, I will not be able to meet the king. If I give him the food, I will not have enough food to go home again.” But he saw the old man was suffering so much. He agreed to change clothes; he accepted the old man’s clothes. He gave him his nice new clothes, and he gave him the food. Now he did not think he was worthy to go see the king, but he was close to the castle and thought he should try to see the king. He went up to the castle and knocked on the door. The soldier came out and saw his old clothes and asked him what he wanted. He explained he was here because the king called for people to come. The guard told him to stay and wait. He waited a long time. Then the soldier came back and told him to go into the castle. The young man went to the great hall and walked in feeling embarrassed. When he came close to the throne, he looked up at the king. He was shocked. He said, “You are the king! You are the old man I met on the road. I gave you my clothes and my food. Why?” The king answered, “I wanted to know if you truly love God and love other people. I see it is true. You will become the next king.”
That is what we want. To become king? No, I do not think so. But join Jesus in his kingdom in heaven? Yes, we all want that. How do that? Help people. See people who need your help. See in them the person of Jesus Christ. We can find Jesus in many places. Today find Jesus in the person who needs our help.