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.
In ‘normal’ circumstances, many of us would have been glued to our television sets prepared to watch tonight’s March Madness showdown. I have been privileged to travel to two Final Fours in the past four years, cheering on my alma mater.
Have I engaged in extravagance just as Mary is accused of when anointing Jesus in today’s Gospel? Yes, I have. But I am thankful for the opportunity to experience these games and reconnect with friends from college. God calls me to do more than simply give thanks, so I commit myself to balancing that lavish fandom by engaging in comparably passionate commitment to service, charity and prayer.
Today’s Gospel also reminds us of the importance of enjoying our treasures with those who are present in our lives. Sometimes our commitment to our obligations impedes on our family time. It is important to heed Christ’s advice, “You will always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
These last few weeks have provided us with ample amounts of family time, but when things settle, how will we proceed? This time of uncertainty has allowed us to reassess our priorities and ensure we are balancing our lives.
Balance means we can enjoy some of our treasures, time and opportunities (such as a Final Four game), while not relishing in them in unhealthy ways. St. Ignatius talks about this as being free from “disordered attachments,” meaning placing anything above our relationship with God.
As we inch our way towards what we used to deem ‘normalcy,’ may we commit to living a life of greater balance, answer our call to serve those on the margins, and enjoy the treasures found in being present to family, friends and our Creator.
Heavenly Father, fill me with patience to look at myself when I am quick to judge others. Help me see my own shortcomings, address them, and commit to leading a more altruistic life, and in doing so, serve as an example of your love. Amen.
—Patrick KennedyPlease share the Good Word with your friends!