11TH APRIL 2022
Is 42:1-7; Ps 27:22.214.171.124-14; Jn 12:1-11
LOVE AND GRATITUDE TO JESUS
The scene depicted in today’s Gospel reading took place exactly one week before the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus was anointed on two different occasions — first, at the start of his public ministry, in Galilee, as recounted by St. Jesus was anointed by a repentant sinful woman in the house of a Pharisee), and, second, towards the end of his life, in Bethany, as reported here by St. John. Instead of brooding over the sufferings and death waiting for him, Jesus, along with his Apostles, enjoyed a party given for his friend, Lazarus by his family and friends. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified. Probably he halted in Bethany, both because Jerusalem was overcrowded, and because Jesus wanted to spend time in with his closest friends.
The Gospel summarizes two attitudes: Mary’s and Judas.’ Mary expressed her love for Jesus and her gratitude to God by an extravagant action. Before all the Apostles, she anointed Jesus’ feet with nard (a very costly perfume worth the wages of a laborer for 300 days), then wiped them with her hair. Her lovely deed shows the extravagance of love. Judas on the other hand criticized Mary for spending so much on perfume, suggesting that the money could have been used to help the poor. Mary’s action was extravagant, but her motive justified it. However, Judas’ motive in suggesting the good action of helping the poor was selfish and impure, spoiling the action.
We need to express our love and gratitude to Jesus during this Holy Week for what he did for us centuries ago and for what he continues to do for us now: He poured out his Blood for us and for our salvation. He anointed us with his Holy Spirit and made us the Temple of his Spirit. He continues to nourish us with his Body and Blood through the Holy Eucharist. We can express our love and gratitude to our Savior Jesus during Holy Week by spending more time in prayer and adoration, especially by participating in the liturgical celebrations by doing acts of penance for our past sins and by actively engaging in acts of loving and humble service.