It’s Not One or the Other
In this reading, Mary pours costly perfume over Jesus’feet, only to be told that she should have saved her money to give to the poor.
Jesus responds by saying, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” Jesus was not being selfish. I think he cared about Mary, and wanted to tell the group that the time we have with the people we love is very precious.
Jesus was also making a point about hypocrisy. The person who challenged Mary was Judas Iscariot, and about him the scripture says, “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.”
“Why was this perfume not sold…and the money given to the poor?” Judas had asked. Most people who say things like that do it for effect, and seldom do they apply the same scrutiny to their own budgets. Oftentimes we let those people get away with it; perhaps we even think they are prophetic. Not Jesus. He called Judas on the carpet, and after that, Judas betrayed him, proving once again that relationships were not Judas’ priority.
Prayer:Loving Christ,let me see that in this abundant world,there is room both for generosity to strangers and to those we love most dearly. It’snot one or the other.Wecan choose both.Amen.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
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