‘You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12:8 (NIV)
Judas makes a cynical remark about Mary´s gift to Jesus. He is unhappy to see her waste such expensive perfume by pouring it all out on Jesus´ feet. He says that the money could have been used on the poor people. But Jesus brings the theme around. He stops us on our earthly path. As we look forever at our things, He gently raises our vision towards the Holy. Instead of focusing upon our world, He gives us God, or God´s sweet gift to us…. Himself, the Son of God!
Jesus points out that we will always have the poor with us. There will be plenty of time to care for them. It is good that we show concern for them. It is important that we go out of our way to help them. But first and foremost on our agendas should be our spiritual orientation. Where are we with Him? Where are we directing ourselves? Where are our hearts leaning? Are we going to God first? Are we placing Him before all else?
One can easily say that Jesus was referring to the fact that soon he would be crucified. We can see His work in the flesh was nearing an end and soon He would be returning to the Father´s side. We would be right. But this does not change the direction of our hearts. This does not mean that just because Jesus is not here before us in a human body, that we can forget Him or push Him off for another time. We can and should always do whatever we can for the poor and needy people around us. Jesus set a beautiful example of living a selfless life and caring for all those who needed Him. We will always find that we have someone who can use our care. But we can never afford to lose a chance to be right where Jesus is.
Could Jesus be giving us more than a short lesson here? Could He be helping us find a Way to be? Could He be setting the course of our lives for us? Could He be showing us to seek Him always? We will be able to help those in need. But will we be better prepared to help them if we bring ourselves to Jesus first? Will our closeness to Him direct us in helping others as God sees they need it?
Judas first thought was the money. We could be like him. We could go charging off thinking we are helping people by giving them our time or money. Or we could go first and always to Jesus. We could take advantage of our chances to be near Him. There, with our hearts together with His, he can show us what care God would give to those in need. We could remove their need by supplying the money or food they lack. But is it possible that without going first to the Lord, we may be removing just the things He places there to bring them to Him? Might God allow some people to suffer in the hope that they will be able to see their need for Him? Without assuring first our complete focus on Jesus, how will we ever recognize where He is working on Heavenly Goals? Without taking advantage of the time we could have with Him, How will we ever know who the poor are we need to help? Without being with the Lord, How will we know how He wants us to help them?
Dear Jesus, we come to You. We want to take advantage of these times where You can be with us. Let this time we share with You direct our hearts. Feed us with Your Presence! Fill our hearts in these times together with Yours! Then we will be able to share with others what You would have us share! The only Way we will ever really know How You want us to help is for us to be with You! So let us come to You now, we pray!