Monday of Holy Week

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him. Jn 12:1-11

Money is not going to solve the world’s poverty issues. It helps, don’t get me wrong, but every society everywhere has had the poor. If money was to solve the poverty problem, it would have been eradicated long ago. Judas was blinded by the money that he was carrying with him. Jesus knew this, and reminded him that the poor will still be around after he is gone.

Why is that? Why would God not want everyone to be out of the bowel of poverty? God could, in a single instant change this fact in the world. He has not. Here is my take on it, and maybe I am wrong, maybe I am right, but after really reflecting on this today, here is what I am led to believe. We, as a society, tend to put money as the base line for poverty, for who is considered poor. We can raise or lower that bar at any point. We can move it like the wind blows the pollen around in spring. That is a material base. I am not saying that there are not those who really need help, not at all, what I am saying is we base it on a monetary scale. Just because someone does not have a lot of money does not make them poor, and just because someone does have lots of money, that does not make them rich.

The message is really about spirituality. We should all be helping someone in need. It does not have to be monetary. It can be spiritually. Inviting them to a greater calling with Jesus, or just simply being a good example to the world. It doesn’t take lots of money for this. It’s not about the money, it will not solve it on its own, it is about the intentions behind the act that make it what it is. If it is done out of love, the actions will be magnified for good, if done out of obligation or anything other than love, it will not be fruitful.

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