To belong to the flock of Christ – to be a part of his church – means to confess that he is one with the Father and that all and everything has been put into his hands. This also means to have a hope that is larger than a particular and narrow hope for the elect only. This larger hope is exactly what distinguishes the church from the pharisees of Jesus’ time and indeed all religious elites who want to narrow down the gospel.
This is what the story of the woman with alabaster jar reminds us: That the kingdom of God explodes all our narrow concerns and ideas of justice. Instead we are to look to Jesus as the woman did. When we do that we are ready to help the poor, who are always with us in the kingdom. The justice of the kingdom of God does not exclude worldly justice, but includes it and brings it all into a much wider perspective.
When Jesus comes to us, he comes to us in all our poverty. He was born on the edge of civilisation, in a manger. Jesus comes to us as one without possesions. Restless, like Cain. But unlike him Jesus accepts his situation. He comes to us as one who does not rely on wealth, but on God alone. And he tells his disciples to do the same.
This is the meaning of advent: That Jesus is coming – the Kingdom of God is coming. Not just somewhere far off in the future, but every day, in all circumstances of your life. He is coming right now, and with him he brings peace and light to everyone who lives in darkness.