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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
There is something especially touching about today’s Gospel because it shows us that Jesus really liked Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. He clearly felt safe and comfortable with them—he loved them and wants to spend as much time as he can with them.
The three siblings would have known that there were people who wanted Lazarus dead since he served as a constant reminder of Jesus’ transformative power to bring even life from death. Still stunned and grateful beyond telling to Jesus for having raised her brother Lazarus from the dead, Mary magnanimously and opulently anoints Jesus’ dusty feet with expensive oil using her own hair. This dramatic gesture is her way of publicly proclaiming Jesus is her Lord, the guide of her life.
If someone were watching you, what actions would they see indicating Jesus is your Lord? While it may not be necessary for you to make theatrical gestures, your faith in Jesus should make a difference in how you live. Can people in your family or among your friends and coworkers see it?
Lord, we pray for significance more than we pray for success. Grant us your grace so we can live this hope in every interaction, every decision, and every light hearted moment that lifts our spirit. And when night time comes, may we see your handprint upon each hour of the day. And where we smudged your mark, give us the desire and confidence to bring your loving touch to each moment of tomorrow’s day.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!