Grace to you!
May we use the days before the Triduum, the three holiest days in the Holy Week, to situate ourselves within the events of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Paschal Mystery). To do so, I would want for us to look at three of the prominent characters during the entire drama leading up to the crucifixion—namely Mary of Bethany, Judas and Peter. I believe that in these characters we will find ourselves, or at least, a little of ourselves. By so doing, we will be equipped to assess our place in the Paschal Mystery. Today, we will look at Mary; and on Tuesday and Wednesday, Peter and Judas.
The Gospel of John 12:1-8 tells a story of the anointing of the feet of Jesus by Mary of Bethany. Mary is the sister of Martha and Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. The anointing took place at Martha’s house during a supper.
According to the story, “Mary 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. But Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples (the one who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (Jn 12:3-5).
Mary is consistently represented in the bible as one who loves Jesus. One who sits at the feet of Jesus listening to him (see Luke 10:39), and one who, in relation to Jesus, every other thing is secondary. Hers is a clear example of highest adoration – surrendering everything else so as to be with the Lord, to listen and to contemplate him.
Mary’s love for the Lord urges her on and she is ready to give it her all. The costly ointment (worth about one year of average earnings) that she broke open and generously poured at the feet of Jesus was not at all wasteful. Instead, it was a sign of her deep, sacrificial love for Jesus Christ, not to talk of the wiping of the feet of Jesus with her pretty hair.
Let us not see the picture as demeaning to women. Instead, it was the journey of a soul in love with God, inspired to offer to her love everything. For love, we can give everything and for pure love, every other value we have becomes secondary.
Holy Week is a time to reciprocate love. It’s a time to be like Mary in giving Jesus the core of our affection, our love. Mary captures the true sense of worship and if we must be part of the Paschal Event, we should follow in her footsteps.
Pray: Lord, may we love you so much as to give it our all. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday After Palm Sunday: Is 42:1-7; Jn 12:1-11]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.