MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Eamonn Clark C ‘14
“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
John 12: 8
It would seem as if today’s gospel tells us that “the poor” do not need to be taken care of. Of course, Jesus understands the needs of the poor and gives us commands to help them. Why does he not agree with Judas then? Jesus responds the way he does not only because perhaps he knows the intentions of Judas, but also because the action of Mary is perfectly well ordered and due: no other use of the oil could be better than to anoint the Christ in preparation for his death (and eventually during his burial). Surely it would have been meritorious to sell the oil and give the money away to those in need, but Mary has an extraordinary opportunity to show her charity directly to God rather than through others. Here is God right in front of her! Her action is one of pure worship, which is not opposed to temporal activism (like aiding the poor) but instead complements and perfects it. This opportunity is also fleeting, while the poor we “will always have” and will need more money each day.
When God comes very near to us, it is best to put all of our efforts toward sincere self-emptying and worship after the example given to us by Mary. Perhaps what we will offer God is not manifested by precious oil, but maybe it is our total trust, our time, our talents, or something else.
Lord God, help me to realize your presence and to draw close to it. Fix my whole heart, mind, and soul upon Yourself that I may love You sincerely. Amen.
Is 42: 1-7, Ps 27: 1-3, 13-14, Jn 12: 1-11