The Poor Among You (07-10-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 59:16-17
I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.
Bible Reading: John 12:4-8
One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
"Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages."
He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
As I read this brief conversation between Jesus and Judas about the value of the perfume that Mary lavished on Jesus as she anointed his feet, I am aware of many different themes running through it.
The perfume was worth a year’s wages. That’s a great extravagance. I wonder how extravagant I am prepared to be in my worship of Jesus. Some might have thought it was a waste. I wonder if my worship of Jesus would ever be such as to cause other to think it was a waste.
When Judas suggested the money could be given to the poor, Jesus knew he was a thief, and yet he didn’t challenge him. I wonder if I am sometimes too quick to challenge others. Is there a time to let things ride and a better time to challenge?
There was clearly a bigger picture behind what Mary was doing; Jesus saw it as foreshadowing his dearth and burial. I wonder how often I get bogged down in the detail and miss the bigger picture of what God is doing.
And then there are Jesus’ words, ‘You will always have the poor among you’. I am sure that, while Jesus saw this prophetically as a future reality, it wasn’t how he wanted it to be. There are many places in the bible where God expresses his concern for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the refugee. In the Magnificat, Mary (Jesus’ mother) said that God raises up the humble and fills the hungry with good things and Jesus himself said he came to bring good news to the poor.
We have the poor among us today. The poor need to hear the good news of Jesus, but they also need good news about their financial needs. Food banks are a good start, but I wonder what more we could do.
Let us be aware of those around us who are in financial need and let us find ways to support them sensitively and appropriately. Let us worship God through our support of the poor.
Lord Jesus you have given me so much, help me to become more aware of the needs of the poor and give me the grace to share what I have with those who have not.
With a prayer you fed the hungry