MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK 29/3/2021
1st Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-7: Here is my chosen son in whom my soul delights.
Resp. Psalm 26(27):1-3,13-14: The Lord is my light and my help.
Gospel:: John 12:1-11: She had to keep this ointment for my burial.
In today’s gospel, Mary the sister of Lazarus took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment” (John 12.3). In the context of the gospel, this is clearly an anointing for his approaching death and burial. Judas Iscariot is shocked by the waste of money involved in the spectacular event, and protests, only to be silenced by Jesus. This story is well-known. Indeed, Mary must have known that opposition to Jesus was mounting and there may not be any more opportunities to so express her devotion. How are we maximizing our opportunities to be with the Lord? How many times do we bring our gifts to the Lord- gifts for his place of worship?
Focusing on the fragrance, we see two matched and balanced passages in the Gospel ofJohn, both concerning death. In the first, Lazarus suffers the ordinary death of humanity, which is associated with stench, but Jesus reverses that (John 11:43). In the second, it is in Lazarus’s own house that a woman prepares Jesus for his own death, by means of a glorious smelling ointment that multiply recalls the holiest images of the Temple and its religious practice and the restoration of Mount Zion in the heart of mankind. Thus, the overwhelming perfume of eternal life destroys the stench of death. The house becomes Heaven- God dwelling place.
On the part of Judas, he presents his case in a way that appeals to the higher motivations of the disciples, and which masks his own greed. The perfume is worth a year’s wages. It could be sold, and the money given to the poor. It should be sold but will he do it right that can only be said by the one who knows the intentions of our hearts. Such embezzlement is a heart that is selfish, a heart that loves money. The evil is still beyond his greed and that is betrayal.
This is a major contrast between a true disciple and the one who is in the a privileged position but substituted faith and obedience with selfishness, greed and betrayal. Jesus eventually points out this evil in the heart.
MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK 29/3/2021
Dearly beloved in Christ, the care for the poor is a sacred duty because it is the concern of God’s own heart. Those who share in his life will share in his concern for the poor and will act appropriately as he guides. This diversion of funds from the poor for the sake of Jesus’ burial implies that there are times for such exceptional use of funds. But it also implies that the funds would usually go to the poor and that this is the proper thing to do. John’s “suggestion that Judas did not care about the poor has implied in passing that Christians should love, care and be fair. Mary was misunderstood several times, she was told that she was wasting her time(John 10:40), she was told that she was wasting her effort(John 11:31) and wasting resources (John 12:5) but for God she got it right for she chose the better part. Therefore, no time,effort or resources given to God is a waste for our thanksgiving had nothing to his greatness.
Have a Blessed week ahead and remember to stay safe.