June 23, 2024

The Poor are always with us


No matter where a discussion about revitalizing Lexington Park begins, it seems poverty becomes a part of it.

No matter how a conversation about poverty twists and twines, it seems to return to eradication as the resolution.

Whether a society locks the poverty stricken into debtors prisons (they still exist), lets people starve where they lie (we see it on TV, even if we pretend it doesn’t happen in our real lives) or raises the poor through education and indoctrination into the non-poor, the goal is  to remove poverty from society,  eradicate it as a function of the economy. Cut the drag.

Then why – if nothing, from the most draconian to the most benevolent methods, works – do we continue to believe this is possible? What if Jesus is right?

“The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”
Mathew 26:11 NIV

In some accounts Jesus is peeved when he says this. He’s speaking to disciples who criticized a woman who anointed him with expensive perfume. The disciples grumbled that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.

Don’t misconstrue the statement, advise religious scholars, there is nothing dismissive in its intent.

Interpretations variously explain that the disciples were thus given the task of caring for the poor who would always be with them; that the disciples were being forewarned that Jesus would not long be with them; that the woman, who Jesus said would be remembered for her actions, was  performing a Christian service; and that she was forewarning them as well, as prescient as Jesus turned out to be.

It was not in any way saying poverty was going away.

It is saying, “Quit complaining.”   “Deal with it.”   “Time is shorter than you think.” “And, there but for the grace of God go I.”

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