Where do we find Jesus?
The Wise Men had it easy. They only had to travel a great distance, follow a star and avoid the evil clutches of King Herod.
Now the disciples didn’t have to find Jesus, Jesus found them. Then Jesus found them again, leaving the tomb to search them out. They couldn’t avoid Jesus it seems.
And us? Where do we find Jesus?
Do we have to wait till judgment day to be sifted like sheep and goats?
In Matthew’s Gospel God enters the world twice in the person of Jesus. The first is in being born from Mary, and the other is in being born in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick and those in prison.
Rather than the gifts of the Wise Men with their gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we meet Jesus bringing gifts of food, drink, welcome, clothing, caring and visiting.
The risen Lord, Christ the King, him in whom all fullness dwells, that Jesus is reborn into this world in the poor, in those who suffer, in those who are unknown, in those who are behind lock and key.
We meet Jesus in the sacrament of the poor, they have become holy.
This is Jesus’ final teaching before the passion begins. This is where he winds it all up.
We find not only where to meet Jesus, but we are also shown the foundation of the world, prepared from the beginning. We see the proper order and purpose of creation, the very foundation of the world.
Why are we here? That is what we find.
We are here to meet Jesus in the suffering of others. This is the foundation of all things. That is why the world exists. This is the throne of Jesus, the crucified one.
The mystery of creation, the mystery of redemption, the mystery of God’s judgment is that we find God by sharing in the suffering of others.
This is a strange thing.
It isn’t what we usually hear for the purpose of existence and the meaning of life.
We meet God in the vulnerable suffering and need of others. It is the foundation of the world, a deep and abiding communion of suffering with and for and tending to those who are on edge, who are isolated, forgotten, hidden, avoided and preyed upon.
This is the end of the Christian year. Next Sunday begins the new year with Advent. We end with the King who is found, not in perfect tidy lives, but in the messiness and pain of the world. In finding Jesus we find the foundation of the world, the fullness that fills all things.
The Good News of God is that meaning and purpose and the foundation of the world itself are not found in escaping and hiding from the pain of others.
Rather it is the exact opposite. Mercy is the foundation of all that is.
Find Jesus in the pain of the world, and find who you were created to be from the very beginning, from the foundation of the world.
What gift shall we bring our King?
Where will we find Jesus?