Our primary school was next to the church and even in the days before Mass in the vernacular we occasionally had school Masses. I fondly remember today’s Gospel from St John Chapter 12.
I was asked to read it as the priest quietly read it in Latin. I remember practising it at home using my Dad’s missal that had a English translation (most probably the Douay Rheims version) “Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” Jesus reply was; (RSVCE): “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
Two things struck me. The first is that Jesus was very open to receive this act of great generosity. Here was a man who constantly gave of himself was able to receive this beautiful gesture from a woman. Am I able to graciously receive expressions of love and friendship from another?
Secondly, Jesus was not saying that we shouldn’t remember and care for the poor. I believe he was saying we continue our commitment to the poor and also acknowledging Jesus as the source and strength of our love. We need to do all things in Christ.