REFLECTION FOR TODAY
March 29, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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?” Jn. 12:4-5
Jesus was with His disciples at the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. He regularly spent time at their home and was close to them. He had raised Lazarus from the dead and this meal took place just before He entered into Jerusalem for the first Palm Sunday and Holy Week. It was six days before He would die on the cross.
The mercy of Jesus extends to all. Often in our quickness to judge, we do not see our own shortcomings; our cynicism may blind us to the good in others, much like Judas in our gospel reference today who criticizes Mary for anointing the feet of Jesus with costly oil and drying them with her hair.
The anointing of Jesus at Bethany serves to point out the decision each one of us must make concerning God’s mercy and offer of salvation. Mary who was present at this meal anointed the feet of Jesus. Why did she “waste” this perfume on Jesus rather than keep it for herself or better sell it and give the money to the poor?
She must have come to understand deep in heart the truth of Jesus: that He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creatures, and as such, nothing was worth more than Jesus. So, Mary’s action was an act of love and devotion
One clear lesson Mary’s action teaches us is that nothing is too good for our Lord. It’s true that we must do our part to help care for the poor, but Jesus’ response to Judas is quite interesting. He says, “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.” Jesus was not downplaying the importance of caring for the poor; He was emphasizing the importance of offering acts of love and devotion to Him.
As we enter into this the holiest week of the year, we are given this image of Mary lavishing upon Jesus this liter of costly perfumed oil as a way of inviting us to do the same. Though we serve Christ in others who are in need, we must also seek to regularly offer Him devotion and love directly, even in ways that others may think is excessive. Honoring Him, expressing our love, spending time with various devotions, praying for extended periods of time, and even offering Him our financial resources are all ways in which we give Jesus the glory that is due Him.
Reflect, today, upon ways in which you can imitate this act of loving devotion offered by Mary to Jesus. In what ways can you pour forth in an abundant way your time, money, talents, and energy upon our Lord? How can you best express your devotion to Him this Holy Week? Seek out ways to do this directly for the one and simple reason that you love our Lord and want to express that love this week.
My glorious Jesus, You are worthy of all praise and honor. You are worthy of our deepest devotion and love. As I enter into this Holy Week, I pray that it will be a time in which I may express my deepest love for You. Help me to pour forth that love in abundance this week so as to show You the glory and praise You deserve. Jesus, I trust in You.