Monday of Holy Week
(Isaiah 42:1-7; John 12:1-11)
The philosopher Blaise Pascal, a fervent Catholic, wanted to receive the Eucharist on his death bed. Because he could no longer keep any food down, he proposed a workable substitute. He asked that some poor people be brought into his presence. Since he could not communicate with Christ, the Head, he reasoned, then he would “communicate at least with the body.” In the gospel Jesus points to the poor as being perennially on hand to assist.
Curiously, the passage has been understood as an excuse not to address poverty. “Why bother?” some would ask if even Jesus testifies that the poor will always be around. Then, we might ask, why bandage a wound if someday something will kill us or, for that matter, why eat lunch? In another gospel Jesus identifies himself with the miserable by saying that what is done for them is actually done for him. John’s gospel is more subtle here. Jesus feeds the hungry masses and washes the feet of his disciples saying that they are to wash “one another’s feet.” We should interpret this remark as meaning that he wants us to look on all people as “one another.”
During Holy Week we sense a special call to holiness. This certainly means added time in prayer but also more consideration of the needy. Perhaps we can visit to a nursing home or make a check to charity. Such deeds will enhance our worship.