The Gospel according to John (12:1-11)
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So, Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.
We all have some things that we value or that we are attached to. We say that we will save it for some type of celebratory day. When that day arrives, we forget we have it. Therefore, we never use that item. Sound familiar? Allow me to give you some examples:
- When Connie and I were married, one of the gifts that we received was this beautiful China dining set and silverware for 8. It was our desire to have a formal dinner with 8 people. I have never seen that set of dishes and silverware at our dinner table.
- I had a best friend who was a very snazzy dresser. Everything he wore made him look like some kind of clothing men model. Well Ray had these shoes that he always wanted and finally purchased them when he had the funds because they were rare and expensive Ralph Lauren shoes. The thing was that Ray refused to wear them and never did because he went home to heaven.
- Baptism candle and Holy water: When I do Baptisms, I give each family a container of Holy water. I tell them not to stow away the candle and the holy water in some drawer until you bump into 20 years later. I tell them to take them out once a year (the Baptism date) with a cake, place the candle on the cake and light it, and sing Happy Re-Birthday to their child. Then Bless the whole family with the Holy Water.
By now, I am sure that you’re thinking of the items that you’re attached to or of value. And now you are wondering when was the last time you used it? AND where in the heck is it?!
So ask yourselves how important those items are in your life? Isn’t it better to share them with your friends and family. Remember, you can’t take them with you.
Now think about the God given skills and abilities that you possess, but you store them away for a special day or special person. I am referring to the skills of compassion, or empathy, or just being there for someone in need. I am referring to the skill that you can make someone feel wanted; or make someone smile; or include someone in your social circle. I am referring to the outcasted, the marginalized, the recluse, the disregarded, the ignored, the ostracized. Don’t store away those skills and wish you “could’ve” or “should’ve” used them.
Shortly after Mary’s action, Jesus will himself wash his disciples’ feet, in a similar act of love and humility. The mystery of salvation is whether we will accept absolute and unconditional love and allow it to envelop us wholly. The mystery of damnation is the possibility deep in the human heart of totally rejecting the embrace of Divine Love in a final ‘No’.
How would I feel if Jesus knelt in front of me and washed my feet? Or the better question is … could you wash the feet of a friend?
Action of the Day: This is the beginning of Holy Week. Identify what things that you have done for someone. Now identify the things that you need to or should do? Ask yourself what your plan is to accomplish this.