Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment.
… this is the same Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha did housework. She seems to be quite the devotee.
Then Judas Iscariot — one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him-said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contents.
… John looks back after the crucifixion and reads into Judas’ words the motivation he assumes must have been in a traitor’s heart? Perhaps Judas was jelouse of the close relationship between Jesus and Mary.
So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; let her keep it for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’
… I’ve heard this line used by some to justify not working against poverty … what’s the point, it will always be with us. I disagree, as Jesus often told people to give to the poor. Maybe Jesus, forseeing his death, can be allowed a moment to sadly treasure the devotion of Mary in the face of his mortality … he was human as well as divine.
BTW – the online version of the New American bible says about the annointing of J’s feet and his response … Jesus’ response reflects the rabbinical discussion of what was the greatest act of mercy, almsgiving or burying the dead. Those who favored proper burial of the dead thought it an essential condition for sharing in the resurrection.