Some thoughts from Pope John Paul II on the encounter with Christ in the needy among us.
257. We also encounter Him in a special way in the poor, the afflicted, and the sick (cf. Mt 25:37- 40) who reclaim our commitment and give us testimony of faith, patience in suffering, and constant struggle to go on living. How many times do the poor and those who suffer actually evangelize us! In the recognition of this presence and nearness, and in the defense of the rights of the excluded, the Church’s faithfulness to Jesus Christ is at stake.(Novo Millennio Ineunte 49) The encounter with Jesus Christ in the poor is a constitutive dimension of our faith in Jesus Christ. Our option for them emerges from contemplation of his suffering face in them (Cf. Ibid. 25) and from the encounter with Him in the afflicted and outcast, whose immense dignity He himself reveals to us. It is our very adherence to Jesus Christ that makes us friends of the poor and unites us to their fate.
Many Christians need convincing on these points.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.