Where is Christ hiding?

Where is Jesus hiding?


When I was in my 30’s, I was involved with a group of Christians who provided free respite care to the parents of disabled children. Of all the folks who needed respite care, these parents needed it the most. It was not that they did not want to be with their special-needs kids, but short breaks away helped them to return to their loved ones with refreshed attitudes and a better perspective on life in general. I became affiliated with this group of helpful people when I needed help with my second baby.


Our youngest child, Justin, was born with a birth defect in his throat that caused him to stop breathing when he was asleep, a condition technically known as “apnea.” Every time I would put him down for a nap and every night after I placed him in his crib, there was immediate cause for worry. My baby was connected to an apnea “monitor” that would sound an alarm  – after a prescribed number of seconds –whenever he did not resume breathing. We would have to run into his nursery and stimulate him to breathe. If that didn’t work, we were instructed to lift the baby out of the crib, put him on the floor and perform CPR. Alarms really stressed us out.


Our doctor was who referred us to the previously-mentioned group of Christian respite care volunteers. In reading the respite group’s literature, I was mystified by the phrase, “the hidden Christ,” printed on the brochure’s cover. This is how they viewed each disabled child in their care. At first, though, I was a little bit confused.


When I asked, where Jesus was hiding, I received looks of polite tolerance from the people interviewing. So I didn’t push it any further. Later, however, I discovered a Bible verse that explained the “hidden Christ.” It was Matthew 25:40.


“And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”


At the time, I was not a Catholic like the majority of volunteer workers in the respite-care group. There were a few Protestants who also provided respite, but the majority of those involved (and the church that kicked in the most money for training volunteers, office staff and other operating expenses) were solidly Catholic (nuns, religious brothers and other dedicated Catholic Christians who, I quickly learned, were deep wells of living spirituality).


Now 30 years later, we are caring for my husband’s disabled parents in our home. When I am feeling lazy or resentful at doing my part in assisting my in-laws, I have recently begun reminding myself of the lesson that I was instructed in some 30 years earlier — that they are the “hidden Christ” living in my own home. It has taken me awhile to get to this point because I am not a naturally dedicated learner when it comes to things outside of my easy-life, retiree world. But, little by little, I am beginning to understand. When I remind myself of who I am actually helping, I begin thinking in a better, more charitable light.


Who is “the hidden Christ” in your life? Is it a rebellious teenager or a difficult spouse? Maybe you are stuck within the orbit of perpetually needy co-worker or you have a child with a chronic illness? If you remind yourself of the “hidden Christ” in your own situation, a right-good attitude will be yours in short order.


Amen I say to you, as long you did it to one of these

my least brethren, you did it unto me.”

— Matthew 25:40 {Douay Rheims Bible]