Monday in Holy Week

The thirty-fifth day of Lent

After his dramatic entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus withdrew to the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany. Jesus was an itinerant preacher with no home of his own, dependent on the friendship and charity of his friends for a place to lay his head at night. At supper in Bethany, realizing that events were coming to a head, Mary washed the feet of Jesus and anointed them with a jar of expensive oil. Judas, who kept the common purse of the little group of followers of Jesus, was outraged: "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" But Jesus responded, "You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me." In this moment, Jesus wanted the disciples to focus on the crisis that was about to break over him, but, clearly, the man who had healed the sick and raised the dead was not indifferent to the needs of the poor. The prophets had railed against those who ignored the poor and Jesus himself blessed them and assured them that they would inherit the kingdom of heaven. His words about the poor stand as a continuing judgment against all who live in affluence and allow the poor still to be with us--in our own cities and countryside, and in foreign nations where homelessness, hunger, and disease are the lot of vast numbers of people.


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