Lenten Devotional – Thur, April 11th

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By: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum

John 12:1-8

Reflection—v. 6 ‘not because he cared about the poor’

When Judas makes his compelling point about the wastefulness of Mary’s gift to anoint Jesus’ feet, it is as if the author feels the need to justify Jesus’ response by giving us insight into Judas’ motives. The author wants to affirm that, ‘just to be clear, Judas does not actually care about the poor,’ lest we be won over by his seemingly valid suggestion. Because it’s true, I think any one of us can acknowledge that Judas makes a fair point: wouldn’t that money be better spent if given to the poor? In fact, isn’t that what Jesus’ ministry is all about—good news for the poor, and all that? But if our author is right and Judas really doesn’t care about the poor, then Judas’ point is moot. He is merely trying to say the right thing, while caring about nothing. Mary, on the other hand, cares about Jesus with her whole heart, so much so that this love compels her to give humbly and freely. Oh, Judas, how we love that Jesus outsmarted you and honored Mary’s selfless gift of love—you had all the right arguments, and none of the heart. But before we move directly to joining Team Jesus, I invite us, in this season of penitence, to pause and reflect on when we care more about saying the right things than caring for humans. If we do not actually care about the poor—the human beings in our midst experiencing poverty—all the right words from the academy or the pulpit or seminary or your Facebook post are moot.

Prayer: God of the poor, give us caring hearts to do the messy work of justice that cares for your beloved children with abundant outpourings of love.