Today’s Gospel: John 12:1-11
This Gospel passage reminds me of two things. The first is Stephanie Landsem’s book The Tomb, a wonderful work of biblical fiction that explores the stories of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Thanks to that novel, these people from the Gospel have come to life for me, and I can imagine the dynamics between these characters as Martha is busy serving and Mary is anointing Jesus’s feet. And I wonder if I would be like Mary. Would I willingly give up my finest oil to someone visiting my home? Do I share my finest things with others freely, or do I hoard them for myself?
The second thing I think of are those people who say the church should sell all its art work and give the money to feed the poor. This is what Judas argues with Jesus. However, Jesus responds that Mary should keep the oil for his own burial because we will always have the poor with us. Does this mean we shouldn’t give to the poor?
Of course not. However, I think that when people talk about the church selling its fancy artwork, they forget that the artwork is there for the poor as well as the rich. I’ve been blessed to study in Rome, and one of my favorite parts of being there is being able to stop in random churches and pray for a while. Every church in Rome has exquisite artwork. You never know when you’ll find a sculpture by Michelangelo, columns designed by Bernini, or a painting by Caravaggio. These churches are open for long hours each day, and everyone (rich and poor, believers and nonbelievers) is welcome to enter, admire their beauty, and maybe be led closer to God by it. Sometimes “costly” things are worth far more than their monetary value.
How can I share generously of myself today with someone who is in need?
Heavenly Father, help me to see the true value in what I have and help to give freely of my time, treasure, and talents.
Copyright 2018 A. J. Cattapan
A.J. Cattapan is an award-winning author, speaker, and middle school English teacher. Her debut novel, Angelhood, has been an Amazon bestseller in Christian teen fiction and won multiple awards. Her second novel, Seven Riddles to Nowhere, has also won multiple awards and tells the story of a boy trying to save his Catholic school from closing. Follow her at www.ajcattapan.com.
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