You always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you will not always have me.
you’ll always have the poor
you need them to cover
depends on their indenturement
your want at least cost
pick any piece of clay
as an image of all
as you would do for me
do now for any next other
An early reference to reflect on is the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees about eating with those seen as outside the bounds of faith—the “sinners”, the “incompatibles”—and fasting.
The poor, “sinners”, “incompatibles” you will always have with you, because they are a necessary part to any purity system build on sorting people into a simple duality of “ins” and “outs”. At any time the constraints of the constructed system can be changed and good be done, inclusion can be made for those defined as less-than.
While Jesus is around, the prevailing system based on restriction is challenged to reveal itself or change. Usually it reveals itself by ultimately requiring Jesus to suffer and die and not being ready for a rising.
When Jesus is no longer physically present, it will take intentional wandering in the wilderness, doing unpopular good, to find a perspective from which the current system can change its heart along with the people caught in supporting and perpetuating it.
As we anticipate Jesus’ absence and the attendant anxiety of such an eventuality, it becomes clear that always having a choice to remove the conditions of poverty, “sin”, and other exile producing mechanisms is what we can’t seem to get around. To acknowledge our complicity with the principalities and powers is to confess how much we like our little power perks and to what lengths we will go to keep them. This moral choice reveals our love of G*D and Neighb*r.