Today's Gospel passage (John 12:1-8) should challenge our perceptions of Jesus. Typically, He is described as selfless and forever concerned with the needs of others.
Today, His statement that "You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me" sounds like He is doing an abrupt about-face. It makes Him sound decidedly selfish, basking in the adulation and luxuriousness of Mary's tender gesture of anointing Him with expensive ointment.
We must remember that the New Testament, particularly the words of Jesus, borrow heavily from the Old Testament in which Jesus and His disciples were well-steeped. Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 15:11 which says "You always have the poor with you. Open your hand to the poor and needy in your land".
What are we to make of this passage?
I discuss some of the possible implications of this story in my sermon for today. Click here to download the podcast.