The Human Face of Jesus

As I made my humble little films on global and domestic poverty, I learned to see the poor and the marginalized, the alcoholic and the drug addict, the mentally ill and the homeless not as objects of pity and charity but as brothers and sisters with whom I’m intimately related. The longer I walk with the poor – and with Jesus – the more I see the need to put to death the idea of my own self-sufficiency. To think of myself as separate from God and all of creation, including the poor, is an illusion.

Saint Francis understood
we all are
the human face of Jesus;
he knew that
all of humanity comprises
the divine face.

God assumed flesh
and was born into a world of
oppression and persecution.
Can we ever grasp the reality
of the divine presence
dwelling in a depraved humanity
and that subsequently
every man, woman and child
is uniquely precious,
equal and blessed,
all brothers and sisters?

Jesus is hungry and naked.
Yet we build and decorate elaborate churches
in His name,
but do not feed or clothe Him.
Every day,
God comes to us
in a distressing disguise,
clothed in the rags
of a tormented and neglected
poor person,
in hopes that the encounter
will provide a place
for healing and hurt to meet,
for grace to embrace sin,
for beauty to be restored.

As my friend Fr. Daniel O’Leary writes:
“It takes a great love,
and many deaths,
to transform the eyes
of our souls
so as to see
God’s face
in every face.
And inevitably, inexorably,
this love, this hope,
will lead to a crucifixion.”


1 Response to “The Human Face of Jesus”

  1. 1 aliceny April 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    “It takes…many deaths to transform the eyes of our souls so as to see God’s face in every face….”

    And therein lies the difference between those who can “see” and those who cannot overcome the lure of ‘the world’ and its pleasures and attractions to “see.”

    Jesus saw. He taught us, and showed us by His own actions, how we can identify with and try to ease, or to end, the poverty and social injustices that afflict millions of our sisters and brothers. His final act brought Him to an ignominous, grisly death of a cross that showed us that we, too, may have to carry a cross in order to”see” with His eyes.

    Thank you, Mr. Straub, for this reminder.

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