April 11, 2022
by John Shea S.J.
Creighton University's Biology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 257

Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
John 12:1-11

Celebrating Easter

The 1st Four Days of Holy Week - 14 min. - Text Transcript

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

I recall a conversation I had about twenty years ago with someone about poverty. He cited Jesus’ words, “You always have the poor with you” as justification for doing nothing to alleviate poverty. He reasoned that if Jesus said that the poor will always be with us, then why bother trying to eliminate poverty? We already know it won’t be possible. While there are many things wrong with this line of reasoning, I wish to focus on our response to the poor in this reflection.

In a broad sense, the poor are those who are in need. So yes, the poor will always be with us so long as someone is in need. Considering that we live limited lives with many needs, how could it be otherwise? The real question is, “how do we respond to the poor?”

Our first reading shows God’s response to the poor, for those in need. God speaks of one who will “open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” With the insight of our Christian faith, we realize that this reading is about Jesus. And as Christians we also recognize our call to follow Jesus, bringing forth justice, alleviating poverty, and sharing the Good News with all.

Judas complains that the perfumed oil Mary “wastes” anointing Jesus’ feet could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. His objection identifies a false dichotomy – the perceived conflict between loving God and loving others. Mary shows her love by pouring out costly oil over the one who will pour out his life for us. Jesus responds by accepting her display of love while reminding us of our obligation to the poor.

By loving others, we demonstrate our love for God. And loving God entails loving others. As we begin Holy Week, with our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving, how will we show our love for the poor?

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