Jesus said to the disciples, Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me. In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for the burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her. Mt. 26:10-13< B>
The words of Jesus, The poor you will always have with you," have sometimes been misunderstood. Jesus was not saying that poverty is inevitable so theres not much you can do about it.
Jesus was quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy where Moses is giving a speech to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Moses tells them that there will be abundance in the new land and thus theres no reason for poverty.
Then, Moses recognizes, not in a complimentary way, that despite this abundance, the poor you will always have with you. In other words, even though there is enough for everybody, it will probably not be distributed fairly.
Far from simply accepting poverty as a fact of life, Jesus is quoting a passage that says that this should not be so.
In effect, he says: Why do you worry over this womans act of generosity, when you have accepted a system which leaves so many people in need?
Its a good question to think about during Lent.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
Thirty Pieces of Silver
Only Matthew gives the amount of money Judas was paid to betray Jesus 30 pieces of silver. But Matthews primary interest seems to be its symbolism more than the exact amount.
Matthew often sees a parallel between an incident in the life of Jesus and an Old Testament passage.
The Book of Exodus, in a section setting forth various laws and regulations, stipulates that if an ox gores a slave, the owner of the ox must pay the slave owner 30 shekels of silver. The parallel is clear. In the exchange of money between Judas and the chief priests, Matthew portrays Jesus as someone valued no more than a slave.
Thirty pieces of silver, at the time of Jesus, are estimated to have only about one-tenth of the value they had when the Book of Exodus was wrriten many centuries earlier.
Ash Wednesday through Saturday has been called The Porch of Lent an entryway to help us get the feel of this 40 days season. Take another look at your Lenten Plans on February 18th.