Galatians 2:910: “James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.”
What does it mean to serve “the least of these?” Who are the poor? Not just the financially poor, but the socially outcast, the hurting and the disenfranchised… anyone out of the mainstream through disease, lack of education, etc. The poor are those most responsive to the gospel. It has always been that way historically.
Who did Jesus touch? Who did he allow to touch him? Lepers, a diseased woman, a prostitute, tax collectors, uneducated fishermen, people who are excluded from the temple and may not come inside the walls. These are the people Jesus went to and these were the people most receptive to him.
Who are today’s lepers? AIDs victims, illegal immigrants, gays, homeless people, addicts, prostitutes, pimps, sex offenders who must live outside the city limits, prisoners… these are the poor in spirit, the ostracized. What does it mean for us to be called to serve them?