The Monday in Holy Week
Reading for the Day:
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.
Sometimes the Marys in the Gospels get a bit muddled, this is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Remember, she was the one who sat at Jesus feet while Martha did all the cooking. She is someone who seems to have Jesus figured out.
She pours this perfume on Jesus feet, perfume which usually would have been used at burial. Literally, the smell of death is in the air as Judas takes Mary to task for her extravagance. Just as He had with Martha, Jesus defends Mary against Judas.
We can only imagine Mary’s sadness as she wipes Jesus’ feet. And there is more sadness for her to come. The pharisees are plotting, not only against Jesus, but also against Lazarus whom Jesus raised. All evidence of overwhelming love must be wiped out.
Perhaps this was the real problem that Judas had with Mary, that she pours out love, selflessly and generously. Judas has already turned away from treating Jesus this way
As we stand at the beginning of Holy Week read to overflow with abundance or are we already holding things in short supply? Judas has let go of the possibility that Jesus was changing him, and turns to money for comfort. Part of having a heart overflowing, living sacrificially, is that we open ourselves up to hearing, to change in the confidence that even a lingering remembrance of death in our nostrils will lead us to live in Christ.
Throughout today: Notice where you are open and giving like Mary, generous and allowing change. Notice also when you are angry and closed off like Judas, holding on too tightly and making demands. Offer this to God at the end of the day.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Let Thy Merciful Ears – Thomas Mudd
Let thy merciful ears O Lord, be open unto the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things, as shall please thee.