You Do Not Always Have Me

Today’s Gospel was quite striking to me. Jesus tells Judas when he remarked on the expensive perfume used by Mary, sister of Lazarus, to anoint Jesus, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:7).

When Jesus said “you do not always have me”, it spoke of how much limited time Jesus, as man, has. The statement can be interpreted as a stress on the primacy of the love of God over the love of neighbor. However, I’d like to dwell on how it could be seen in another way, that Jesus being man and knowing his time is near, reminds his disciples to cherish each moment he is with them. The time is coming when he won’t be physically present to them moving about ordinarily.

It reminded me of the wisdom that we won’t have each other for very long. People come and go. No matter how joyful and blissful the moment is, it will have to pass into the past and into the pages of history. What happens today with our beloved ones could only be preserved in memory and sooner or later will have to fade into oblivion just as the rising of the sun erases the shadows of the past day.

We must appreciate, treasure, and enjoy each moment given to us to share and encounter personally our families, friends, and loved ones. May we always make them feel they matter to us. May we always share how much we care for them. It is only in the now that we can hold them, hug them, or kiss them, lest time will snatch them away from our hands.

But we are not to fall into despair. Our Christian hope tells us that only in heaven can we enjoy the full communion that is to be ours with God and with every human. Only in heaven can there be a great family reunion, high school reunion, and batch reunion in perfect attendance. While we are in this journey of life, let us reflect that heavenly intimacy as we prepare for the life in the next.


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