“Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst.” John 19:28
Reflection: In each of their convents, the Missionaries of Charity (the order founded by Saint Teresa of Calcutta) have this word of Christ above their crucifixes: I thirst. Mother Teresa wanted her sisters to keep this always in their minds as they served the poorest of the poor throughout the world. She believed that in helping those who hunger and thirst, her sisters were in a very real way reducing the suffering of Christ.
Whether or not it is theologically sound, I love the idea that my actions can in some way reduce the suffering of Jesus. I certainly know that many of my actions of selfishness and pride have increased his suffering, so it comforts me to think that the opposite could be true too.
Throughout his passion, we have seen various characters do what they can to help Jesus in his moments of need. Some helped willingly: Veronica wiping the sweat and blood from his face with her veil, the women walking alongside to support, his mother and Saint John staying with him until the end. Some helped maybe less willingly: Simon, plucked from the crowd to help Jesus when the soldiers thought he might die along the road.
Where does my service fall in that spectrum? Do I help because I see a need like Veronica did? Do I help others from pity, like the women weeping along the road? Do I help because I am forced to, like Simon? Or do I see others and act out of love? All service is good, but service that comes from a place of love and a genuine desire to ease the thirst of Christ seems to me to be the best.
Questions for prayer and reflection:
Which character along the way of the cross am I most like? Why?
How can I serve Christ in others today?
How have my actions increased or decreased the suffering of Christ?
Fast from all liquids but water to remember Christ’s thirst. Offer this for those in the world who do not have access to clean water.
Learn about Catholic Relief Services water projects and how you can get involved.