“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” – Mother Teresa
(Gospel Text: JN 7:40-53)
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.
So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Then each went to his own house.
“A saint will not come from the slums of Calcutta, will she?” “A pope will not come from Communist Poland, will he?” “A Doctor of the Church will not be a girl from a remote French cloister, will she?”
Jesus’ critics were focused on the fact that he came from an area of no particular significance. While they speculated about Galilee versus Bethlehem, the home of the great King David, they missed the way that Jesus’ wisdom and authority pointed to his royal lineage. Fooled by his ordinary appearance, they could not discern the King of kings and Lord of lords, the messianic “Son of David,” who himself raised David from obscurity to nobility (1 Samuel 16).
Of course, they also were unaware that the Messiah’s ordinariness was foreshadowed in the Scriptures: “There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him… . We held him in no esteem” (Isaiah 53:2-3). Jesus was overlooked then as he is today, just as the shepherd David was overlooked before the Lord told Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In the same way, many of the apostles would have been overlooked by anyone but God. Even the first pope, St. Peter, was just a fisherman!
God does not overlook anyone, hence neither should we.
Mother Teresa put it this way, ““Our lives are woven with Jesus in the Eucharist,” she said. “In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread; in our work we find him under the appearance of flesh and blood. It is the same Christ. ‘I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick, I was homeless.’”
Again and again in her writings Mother Teresa points us back to the altar. “Every Holy Communion fills us with Jesus and we must, with Our Lady, go in haste to give him to others. He made himself the Bread of Life so that we, too, like Mary, become full of Jesus. We too, like her, must haste to give him to others. We too, like her, serve others.”