Today we are reading from Mark 14: 3-9:
3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4 But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
Today we look at a passage some of us may be familiar with, the story of when a woman, unnamed, anoints Jesus before he goes to the cross. He tells all watching that this deed will be told as long as people are told the truth of the Good News. She gives her most valued possession to Jesus, in an act of devotion and of love.
But, today what stuck with me when in reading is another part of this text that we may be familiar with, when Jesus said “you will always have the poor with you . . .” I think about what that means to us, today. That phrase, from Jesus evoked a couple of things in me this morning when reading.
First, I think when Jesus says that we will always have the poor with us, that is not a good thing, it is simply stating the truth. Why will we always have the poor with us? Because we live in a world that is fallen. We live in a world that is not as God intended. When Adam and Eve fell, they took all of creation, all of humanity with them, and things are not right.
When Jesus says that we will always have the poor with us He is not saying that is a good thing or that it is God’s will. He is recognizing that we live in a world that is fallen. And that leads me to the second thing this made me reflect upon.
As Christians, we should do something about it. Just because there will always be poverty does not mean that as Christians we should give in to despair about it. Our job is not to accept things as they are, but our job is to work to make them as God intended them to be. That is why we pray, “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Yes, we live in a world with poverty. We live in a world with sin, with brokenness, with hate, with all kinds of things that are contrary to God’s will.
So, what did God do about that truth? He sends His son into the world to save the world. And when His son ascended, Jesus left the Church to continue that redeeming work.
The poor will always be among us. That is right. That also means that until the Lord returns, our work is never done. Today, we’ve got a mission to help as many as we can by meeting physical needs as well as spiritual needs.
Let’s be Christ’s Body today. His work continues through us.
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