Loving God above all
April 15, 2019
Monday, Holy Week
1st Reading: Is 42:1–7
Gospel: John 12:1–11
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where he had raised Lazarus, the dead man, to life. Now they gave a dinner for him, and while Martha waited on them, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus.Then Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Judas, son of Simon Iscariot—the disciple who was to betray Jesus—remarked, “This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins and turned over to the poor.” Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor; he was a thief and as he held the common purse, he used to help himself to the funds.
But Jesus spoke up, “Leave her alone. Was she not keeping it for the day of my burial? (The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have me.)”
Many Jews heard that Jesus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests thought about killing Lazarus as well, for many of the Jews were drifting away because of him and believing in Jesus.
(Daily Gospel in the Assi-milated Life Experience)
A 300-silver-coin price for a perfume more than two thousand years ago is not a pittance. Pouring it even on the feet of a VIP still borders on thoughtless extravagance. Mary did just this on the feet of Jesus one day. What a la-vish display of hospitality, at a time when an ordinary wor-ker was only earning one denarius a day (see Matt. 20:1-16).
Was Mary’s act anti-poor? Judas said yes, but he wasn’t really pro-poor! John the Evangelist wrote: “Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor… (John 12:4-6).” Jesus tolerated it, for he saw it from a different point of vantage. Where Judas saw wastage, Jesus saw loving patronage. Love can be lavish and extra-vagant. To Mary, only Jesus was important. The encounter with Jesus on that singular occasion, shifted her focus from the value of a thing to the value of a person. Because of who Jesus was to her, the value of the perfume lost the glitter. All that mattered to her was Jesus her Master.
Jesus defended Mary: “The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have me”. There is always time to take care of the poor and mendicant. It is not fair that even the little time we have for God should be eaten up by pastoral work. While certain circumstances render charitable works as valid expressions of love for God (see Matt. 25:31-46), they are only valid as expressions, never as excuses not to have time for God. We should love God above all (Deut. 6:5). – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: [email protected]
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