“Walking with Integrity Toward the Poor”
Amy Carmichael, an Irish Christian missionary to India, often quoted: "You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." This quotation has two facets concerning love and giving. One is to give with no love, while the other is to demonstrate love by giving.
While travelling in Metro Manila along Quirino Avenue, half a dozen of poor boys were seen running towards different vehicles, spraying soap on windshields and wiping them in exchange for money. Some drivers gave under compulsion to keep their cars from being scratched while others gave in appreciation of what the boys were doing.
This Sunday's Gospel reading in John 12: 1-8 demonstrates these two facets in giving: first because of love and then giving without love. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus whom He had just raised from the dead, showed her tribute to Jesus by pouring costly perfume not only on the feet of Jesus, but also on His head. Judas Iscariot reacted to what Mary did, and suggested the selling of the expensive perfume and giving of the proceeds to the poor, not because of his love for Jesus nor the poor, but for his personal benefit. Jesus discerned Judas’ intention, and allowed Mary to continue what she was doing. Jesus knew that Mary's intention was purely motivated out of her belief.
Jesus' ministry had nearly come to an end; His departure had already been foretold many times, yet it was only Mary who listened intently to Jesus' farewell and did her part prior to Jesus departure. Jesus appreciated what Mary did so much in making herself poor just to gain Christ, that He said, "Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her." (Matthew 26:13)
We may experience losing something to the point of becoming poor, but in everything may we gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).