Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “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.”
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.
As we enter into Holy Week, this is a great time to step back from our normal busy, hectic lives to reflect on Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. Please don’t treat this like a normal week. There is a reason that we have a Holy Week each year – to remind us of God’s great love for us and His call for us to repent from our sins and believe in the Gospel. We take time to sleep each day to refresh our tired bodies. In a similar way, we have Holy Week to refresh our weary souls.
In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with precious oil. Lazarus had been raised from the dead, and he, Martha and Mary were hosting Jesus at their home. Mary, the one who had “chosen the better part” by sitting at the feet of Jesus before, now used an expensive oil to anoint Jesus’ feet. She used the best she had for the King of Kings. She held nothing back for Him.
Judas, however, tried to pretend that he cared for the poor by saying that they should have sold that oil and given the proceeds to the poor. Judas didn’t care about the poor; he cared about money and material possessions. Sometimes the Church is criticized for beautiful cathedrals and ornate churches. “Why don’t we sell it all and give to the poor?” some ask. I always respond by saying the Church supports the poor around the world more than any organization. And these Churches are meant to show God that we offer Him our very best. When our sports arenas are more beautiful than our churches, it shows the priorities of our society.
Judas had been blinded by money. As the treasurer of the group, he fell to the temptation right in front of him.
Do things of this world distract us from Jesus’ real presence among us?
Does my hectic life blind me from making the right priorities in my life?
Later in the reading we hear that the people even wanted to kill Lazarus because he was a reminder of Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. How blind we can be! And to what depths we can go in order to try to block God’s plans!
Take time each day this week to pray and reflect on your life.
Do I give the Lord my very best – my time, talent and treasure?
Are my priorities in right order?
Is there anything that the Lord is calling me to change in my life?
Have a blessed Holy Week,