Today we hear the famous passage:
Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
This is often follow by encouraging us to see Christ in everyone which sounds nice but is theologically off base.
Christianity does not teach that Christ is in everyone, nor that we are all God's children.
We become the sons and daughters of God and part of the body of Christ by baptism. We becomes temple of the Holy Spirit, and when we have received the Eucharist we can literally say we have Christ in us.
When Jesus tells us that what we do for the least we are doing for him, and what we don't do for the least we are not doing for him, he is not looking to the divinity we share, he is looking at the other side, humanity.
We are to treat every person with dignity not by trying to pretend that we see Jesus in them, but because of who they are in themselves, a human being. Going back to Genesis God teaches us the things that set human beings apart: we have a soul, we are created in the image and likeness of God, there is a single humanity of which we are all a part.
At the annunciation and Christmas we celebrate the fact that God chose to share in that single humanity. What we do for one part of humanity we do for all.
When we see the poor, dirty, perhaps drug addicted man on the corner, it is not about pretending to see Christ. The real challenge is to see the humanity that he shares with you and I and Jesus, to see the real human being, with a name, perhaps frail, dirty, and broken. And in that moment when we can see our shared humanity, then we can experience com-passion, we suffer with our brother because we truly understand that he is part of us—One adam, one human race.