By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: March 30, 2015
March 30, 2015

Gospel JN 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.


This gospel reading is filled with enough love and intrigue to be made into a captivating movie.

But today, I want to focus on Jesus’ words: “You always have the poor with you.”

Certainly, no truer words have ever been spoken. They remind me of a recent statement by Pope Francis:

“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”

A great statement by Pope Francis, but who is this “Church?” Of course, it’s you…and me.

Recently, I had the incredible experience of being part of a four person delivery team made up of my 12 year old grandson, Nathan, along with a grandmother and her 11 year old granddaughter, Ella.

We delivered food to nine needy families.

Pope Francis’ words echoed in my ears as I watched the enthusiasm of these two youngsters joyfully carrying bags of food up flights of stairs and engaging with the parents and children of the families we served.

There were so many “teachable moments.”

Pausing before we went into a home, I took a moment to explain to the children the flyer in each food box: a picture of Jesus with the words, “I hear your prayers, I do not forget you.”

As we entered hallways, I pointed out fifty gallon barrels that immigrant families use to pack items to be shipped back to relatives and friends in their native countries who are poorer yet.

I explained that the poor do not forget the poor.

I shared with them having done the same thing myself as a child, helping my grandmother pack parcels to be shipped to our poorer relatives in Ireland.

In the apartments of the people we served, I quietly nudged the children and pointed out the pictures of Jesus, the Last Supper and our Blessed Mother hanging on their walls.

I explained to the children that we cannot be too busy to help the poor and that Francis, their Pope, also said, “No one must say that they cannot be close to the poor because their own lifestyle demands more attention.”

I pray dear Lord, in thanksgiving, for the great privilege you have afforded to each of us to go “out on the streets” to bring your love and hope into the world and to pass this gift on to our children and grandchildren.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” Matthew 25: 35

A suggestion: Ask yourselves this question.
"Am I my brother's keeper?" If the answer is Yes, perhaps you would like to join us, as we go Along the Way in spreading the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ.

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"Whatever you do for the most humble of my people, you do for me."
Matthew 25:40