A reading from the holy 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 are told by God to live in the present because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here. We are to savor the beauty of God's works and to enjoy what is in front of us. Mary loved the Lord so much, that she showed Him such extravagant love. Mary knew who Jesus was and she indeed could have taught the scribes and Pharisees what love was about.
As we near our journey with Jesus may we look at the three pillars of Lent. Prayer, our drawing near to God; Penance or Fasting, our drawing away from the pleasures of this world to strengthen our discipline ; and Almsgiving, sharing our love with others. We have walked with our Lord these Lenten days. Hopefully our journey has brought us closer to God and deepened our spiritual life.
Mary, in the Gospel, gave to Jesus her most expensive perfume in thanksgiving for God's boundless mercy. Jesus showed us His extravagant love when He poured out all His blood for us. We partake of this gift at every Mass when heaven comes down to earth. The three pillars of Lent can be part of our lives year round.
How do we thank God for His Mercy?
Is there someone we know needs prayers, is there someone we can pray for their conversion, saving their souls? When we act with mercy may we connect prayers and self denial as well. As we are to finish our 40 days, may we incorporate the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy in our daily activities.
Sometimes tough love is what we need to get well and to help others on their road to recovery. May our priests remember that they are God's voice --they are the persona in Christ when we confess, when we offer the sacrifice of the Mass and when we seek spiritual direction. May they not be robotic in their help or advice.