Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Poor and the Costly Oil


Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant and said, “Why this waste? It could have been sold for much, and the money given to the poor.” Since Jesus knew this, he said to them, “Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me. In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her
Matthew 26:6-13 (NABRE).

Care for the poor is part of the basic social justice and charity toward neighbor that God has always demanded. Yet here, the Apostles -- Judas traditionally being the chief instigator -- had lost sight of the supernatural nature of Jesus' mission and His divinity. Jesus reminds them that their focus was in the wrong place.

The demagogue with his voters. The Communist with his proletariate. The Peronist with his descamisados. The Liberation Theologian with his poor. They withhold the oil from Jesus' head.




Worst of all, there are prelates who see the Church as just another political party to pursue worldly goals. Having, perhaps, lost faith in God, they have fashioned for themselves an idol of The Poor, or, worse, their own love for The Poor. Such prelates are frauds if they burn for The Poor, but not for Christ and the salvation of souls. Once again, they have lost sight of the supernatural nature of Jesus' mission and His divinity. Incredibly, they do not understand the purpose of the Church.

"The poor you will always have with you." This is Jesus' prophecy. Yet that is not what one hears today. If only we curb global warming. If only we redistribute wealth. If only we get rid of capitalism, then we could eliminate poverty. The poor we will not have anymore, for we have willed it, and our will be done on earth.

Judas is still clamoring, Peter is scolding, the apostles are still indignant, all snatching at the alabaster jar of costly oil lest any be wasted on the sweet head of their Savior. It must instead be sold for much and the money given to the poor.

Here are two observations, one easy and one, perhaps, challenging.

God has always demanded that we care for the poor, and we should, as the Church always has. Yet, lately, the Catholic Church seems to care more for the world than for Heaven. Between temporary bellies and immortal souls, the Church has made a bewildering choice. We are told that The Poor are somehow magical just because they are poor. This is Liberation Theology pure and simple.

The second observation is just a personal one. But the Bear senses that God wants you to feed a hungry person more than he wants a hungry person to be fed. God wants us to act for the glory of His Name, and in charity for our neighbor. He doesn't want us to come up with grand bureaucratic schemes to eliminate poverty or save the planet. Like all of us, The Poor will soon be called to judgment and be spending eternity in either Heaven or Hell. The planet is slated for destruction according to God's hidden and unchangeable will.

One pictures the scene: the squabbling apostles, the frightened woman. But at the center, at peace, is the serene figure of Christ speaking words of rebuke and comfort. That is where our eyes must rest, on Jesus Christ alone.

Next: When Jesus Left the Poor Hungry

16 comments:

  1. One gets the feeling that Francis would be incapable of calling the poor "blessed".

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  2. Good one Bear. What happened to: " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."?

    For Pope Francis the poor are a tools to enlarge his political appeal. I wonder why someone doesn't him why the Church approves of the vow of poverty if being poor is such a terrible thing. The truth is that most of us would destroy ourselves spiritually if we were rich. Pope Francis should talk about the grace of poverty and how we should be thankful we are not rich.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, sadly he's taking a stance which the media will label as 'brave', i.e. something which is, in fact, the inversion of true bravery.

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  3. Indeed. In Laudato Si, Francis states:

    "The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty.”

    Those words - solved the problem of poverty - reveal the mind of the Vicar of Christ. Incredible, as you say, especially come from the Pope. And yet, it could not be clearer.

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    1. Beautiful observations, by the way, especially the second. So very true. The eyes of faith, you have. Blessed are you.

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  4. Why Bear, you have recovered magnificently from Francis fatigue.

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    Replies
    1. I just needed to regain my perspective by spending less time with Francis and more time with Jesus.

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    2. Bear has a point. Although it is important to watch and for the Bear and others to report on the shenanigans going on with Francis and in the Vatican at large, it is also of prime importance to 'spend more time with Jesus' for the sake of our own salvation. Time is short!

      Delete

  5. Hey Yogi,

    With all that money saved by selling the oil instead of pouring onto Jesus' head, you could finance a Francifix depicting a Bear being crucified for doing what bears do...stealing honey and crapping in the woods.

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  6. Boo-boo doesn't like Bolivia. And he's a-scared of Grappa swilling Argentinians.

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  7. It seems the pope would prefer to be Aaron instead of Peter. Lots of idols to fashion for the mob.

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  8. CATHOLICISM IS CLUELESS ONCE AGAIN.JESUS WAS NOT ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE.NO SURPRISE CATHOLICS REALLY DO NOT COMPREHEND THE BIBLICAL JESUS .YOUR A SINNER LOST AND GOING TO HELL UNLESS YOU CONFESS YOUR SIN TO JESUS AND HE WILL FORGIVE AND CLEANSE YOU OF ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS .NOTHING TO DO WITH BELONGING TO A CHURCH ON EARTH OR DOING WORKS TO MERIT YOU GOD FORGIVENESS.THE BIBLICAL MESSAGE OF THE CROSS IS FOOLISHNESS TO THOSE PERISHING.YOU PERISHING IN A LIE .IT'S A FREE GIFT OFFERED BY JESUS http://www.fellowshiptractleague.org/tract_html/english/109/page_flip/109.html . .

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    1. The Bear believes many are demonstrating here they do comprehend Jesus, who includes the Biblical Jesus. You obviously know nothing about Catholicism, and, by the way, you're a heretic. Welcome to the woodlands!

      Delete
  9. There's a bit of a joke that "democrats love the poor so much, they like to create more of them" and sometimes I wonder if Catholics should be included in that. Francis certainly seems to be.

    Which is a shame. In this video the lady in question says one of the wisest things I've ever heard: "Christianity, not government, helped me." If Christians (of any flavor) really want to help the poor, we should remember that just charity alone cannot help near as much as Christ and the virtues can.

    I also thought this article might be relevant, Mr Bear.

    ReplyDelete

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