Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We enter Holy Week. This gospel story overflows with imagery, drama and foreshadowing. Calvary seems to loom. What speaks to me are not the words of Jesus but his actions.
He has entrusted himself to the Father. He is aware that in the days to come he will die. So he takes time to be with those he loves. Lazarus, Martha and Mary. This is blessed time. He allows them to pour out their love for Him. I imagine a lavish meal and then the anointing. Such tenderness.
I recall the final days of some of my loved ones and the profound comfort that came from being in each other’s company.
As we acknowledge the suffering of Jesus that is to come let us pause and allow our hearts to be moved. Can we pour out our love to Him with our actions?
—Erin Maiorca serves as associate director of Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington, IL.
Watch over your people, Holy God, with life-giving love.
With your mercy to animate our hearts may we come to the
feast of Easter with gratitude and with hope. Amen!
—The Jesuit prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!