Lent reflection for 29 March

Ibrahim surrounded by dry land and mountains

Ibrahim in Ethiopia

“You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.” 

John 12:8

This statement from Jesus, that we will have the poor with us always, is a challenging one. It seems so contrary to Jesus’ call for us all to love our neighbour. 

Does it really mean that our work here at CAFOD is pointless? Does it absolve us of responsibility for enabling our brothers and sisters to flourish? Or rather does it compel us to action, to try and find creative ways to tackle the injustices that cause poverty and exclusion?  

Is Jesus pointing out that if our attitude is like that of Judas – always looking out for personal profit – then we will never be able to overcome the barriers and the structures that keep people poor in our world? 

Respecting human dignity 

In this reading, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet and wipes them with her hair. In so doing she worships him who is both God and human. She shows him reverence and treats him with dignity.  

Too many people in our world today are treated as though they are disposable or do not matter.  

When Ibrahim migrated from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia to earn a living and support his family, he was treated in just this way: 

“It felt like we had no value. That was why I came back here. I wouldn’t accept being made to feel like that.” 

We are called to treat our sisters and brothers with dignity, since we are all created in the image and likeness of God. 

So today we remember the innate dignity of all people. Let us make sure that our way of life is simple and sustainable and we take actions to tackle injustice when we see it. 

Holy Week prayer

Creator God, open our eyes to see your image and likeness in every one of your children, and to respect each other’s dignity and humanity. May we work together towards a brighter future for all people, in which no one is left behind. Amen. 


Give to the Lent appeal and give more people a brighter future through the gift of clean water. 

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