Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound, of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained, “This perfume was worth a year’s wages! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.) Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it. You will always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me.” (John 12:1-8, CEB)
I have always had an issue with this passage. Mainly because it paints Judas as a criminal. Which he might have been, and he might not have.
But there is also this part about always having the poor. There will always be poor around, but I will not always be with you. But isn’t Jesus always with us? And if the poor are always here, why do we do anything to help those who are poor?
We do not do things that make sense to the world or are logical all the time. We follow Jesus and go where he leads us.
Jesus knew that he was going to die soon and the gift that Mary gave him was a precious gift. One that should not be retained or taken back. We need to look for those moments where we touch the divine in mysterious ways.
Know that Jesus is not physically here, and we still have the poor. But Jesus is here and is leading us to use our nard on the poor.
Loving People. Loving God.