“For you have the poor with you always”


St. Gregory the Theologian

3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”         

{St. Mark 14:3-9; see also St. Matthew 26:10-12}

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” . . .

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.                                  

{St. Matthew 28:5-7, 16-20}

 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

{St. Matthew 25:34-40}

And so we have the poor with us always, and the Lord with us always. Indeed, in the Eucharist we receive Him wholly, Body and Blood; and thereby He is with us and in us. And He is also with us, according to the Scriptures, in the person of the poor: the stranger, the prisoner, and persons who are unclothed or sick. And the list is surely meant to be  extended to all who are in dire need, though they may not fit into these specific categories – including, in some circumstances, persons with disabilities (though in other cases and situations, persons with disabilities may be more well adjusted than those not considered disabled, and are the ones called to reach out and help).

Three posts with excerpts and commentary from St. Gregory the Theologian’s three homilies “On Love of the Poor:” https://armsopenwide.wordpress.com/2007/05/14/stgregorythetheologian/  & https://armsopenwide.wordpress.com/2007/05/19/stgregorythetheologian-ii/ &   ttp://armsopenwide.wordpress.com/2007/05/22/stgregorythetheologian-iii/ 
Also: http://www.incommunion.org/2006/05/07/poverty-and-stigmatization/ 
NKJV Text: http://www.biblegateway.com/
Icon from http://venicreator-english.blogspot.com/2010/07/presentation-of-blog.html

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