Reading: Matthew 25:31-46

Reflection: This week, as we have explored what the incarnation of God in Jesus means for us, we have encountered the very ordinary humanity of Jesus, and we have recognized how Jesus reveals God to us. Today at the start of a New Year, we are confronted with another startling truth. It is not only Jesus who incarnates God. Jesus is unique in his relationship with the Father, and in the way God was incarnated in him, but there is a sense in which we are all “little incarnations” of God.

Genesis tells us that we all have God’s breath (Spirit) within us and that we are all created in God’s image. Now Jesus, in this very challenging parable, teaches that when we serve others, we are actually serving him. Mysteriously, Jesus is embodied in the poor and weak, the vulnerable and marginalized. There is a strong call in the scriptures to recognize that the incarnation is not just about one miraculous event long ago in history. The incarnation is about how we see and live in the world.

When we live with an “incarnational” worldview, we see God everywhere and in everyone, and we treat people and our planet as though we were serving God directly. When we place God in some far-off heaven, and we make the incarnation an event that is separate from us, we can far more easily write others off, and ignore the consequences of how we treat them and our world.

As you begin a New Year today, how can you commit to looking for Jesus in the faces of others throughout the year?

Practice for Today: The challenging message of today’s parable is that when we serve others, we encounter Jesus in them. Service is a way to encounter and connect with God. Today, at every opportunity, serve God by serving those around you – and let today set the course for how you treat others throughout this year.