The week beginning Sunday, 26th November is the Sunday before Advent and the Bible passage assigned to this week is the parable of the sheep and the goats found in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25 and verses 31 to 46. The key verse is verse 40, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” The huge challenge for all of us who profess to be Jesus’ disciples is: do we see the sufferings of Jesus in the sufferings of people around us? Throughout the Bible God reveals his passion for the oppressed. In the earliest times, God intervened miraculously to save His people. For example, the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt was driven by God’s love for His people and His passion for justice. In this present season, God has chosen not to intervene with grand miracles like the plagues on Egypt but has, instead, entrusted His work of compassion to the Church. Some Christians have responded to God’s concern for the orphan, widow and foreigner by fostering and opening their homes to those in need. What about us? In his best-selling book, ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’, Brennan Manning tells the story of a Catholic priest, Abbé Pierre, who worked in Paris after the second world war. In the cold winter of 1947, Abbé Pierre came across a family living on the streets with no way of keeping themselves warm. He took them back to his dwellings. He couldn’t accommodate them in his lodgings as they were already filled with vagrants, so he took the family to the chapel, removed the symbols of faith, and let them live there. Abbé Pierre’s Catholic brothers were incensed. They said: “Abbé Pierre, how can you remove the symbols of the Eucharist?” Abbé Pierre replied, “Jesus is not cold in the Eucharist but He is cold in the lives of this family.” The words of verse 40 are brought to life. ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’.