Lent 5 - Year C
Indeed! Why wasn't Mary's perfume sold for the benefit of the poor? Why was it even purchased in the first place? Why was a dinner opened to an honored guest and not opened to the poor?
We can track cause-and-effect back and back and back even farther. So any High Priest, as well as our very own lowly self, can decide where a difficulty lay and excise that particular and feel extremely proud about having done so. This is a time-tested process to find a scapegoat and hie it to the hinterlands. This process puts each of us into the role of Nard, Mary, Lazarus, Judas, Poor, and High Priest.
The trick is to raise this process from the page that leads us to cover up our own continuing way of divide-and-conquer by stealing a reputation with an unanswerable question. A retranslation is needed for verse 8. Here is one suggestion for both individuals and congregations: "You always have (someone to blame for the current situation), but you do not have (an assurance of being beloved)." Presumably folks can make the connection between poor and blame, between Jesus and assurance.
- Poverty is not measured in money, but in relationships.
- Jesus is a mentor in assurance.
- Assurance and Relationships are Related and Learnable.