Monday, April 06, 2020
Holy Monday: Originally Posted at Flip Flops, Glitter, and Theology, April 10, 2017
John 12:1-11... There are exactly two ways I would like to go with this passage.
First, there’s Mary. I want to talk about her gift… her sacrifice… her pain… her love. I want to
talk about how Jesus, in some sense, will follow her lead in the days to come, making the
washing of feet (at least) a practice firmly embedded in our Christian DNA, and (at best) a
sacrament… a means of grace, itself.
Second, there’s Lazarus. I want to follow up on this dead man walking. Honestly, I want to
poke a little fun at the chief priests who make plans to kill him, because they lack creativity.
How do they think this might end? Perhaps with Jesus raising him from the dead… again?
But even though I could get a lot of mileage out of either of these, I found myself drawn to
Judas. Of course. But not as I usually am. By the end of Holy Week, I have a tendency to rile a good number of people because of the compassion that grows… for Judas. But honestly, friends, this morning he just ticks me off.
John 12:5-6, “’Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a
year’s wages.’ [says Judas] He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (NIV).
I don’t do too well with people who exploit the poor.
If Judas had said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold (for almost any other reason),” and then dipped his hand into the bag; it still would have been wrong. If Judas’ bent toward theft had left the treasury short of the necessary funds for a new fishing pole, a night at the inn, or new carpet for the tabernacle (oh, come on… it’s funny); it still would have been problematic. If Judas had been straightforward and confessed that he felt the need to have more than the others, something not held in common; honesty would have caused a stir. But Judas takes advantage of the already destitute. And I just can’t deal… or, maybe I just can’t even…
When did the poor become our ticket to greatness? When did we start hijacking their narratives to make ourselves look good? I know I’m beating a dead horse, today (there’s a parallel somewhere, chief priests…), but I can’t wrap my mind around this. Let’s be real—I would rather have people helping the poor (in legitimate ways) and taking credit for it than not helping at all. So there’s that. But there are also a whole lot of people who keep talking… and talking… and talking… and doing nothing. Like Judas. Stop talking!