A reading of 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.

REFLECTION: “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.”

Jesus walked an average of 20 miles (32 km) a day during His three year ministry. The principal locations were Galilee and Judea, Perea and Samaria. Traditionally when one came into a home the feet would be cleaned.

These same feet climbed the Mount of the Beatitudes, Mount Tabor and finally the Mount of Olives. These were the same feet that walked on water.

Mary came forward and washed the feet of Jesus with an expensive ointment, nard. Nard, also known as spikenard, came from the flowering plant Nardostachys jatamansi of the honeysuckle family found in India. It was stored in alabaster jars. It cost more than 300 denarii. Since a denarius was the wage for a day's labor, the jar that Mary used was a year's wages.

Mary was bold in her love for Jesus. When you love someone you want to give more than just enough. From the outside, it does seem foolish to spend so much money; however, Mary had been befriended by Jesus, saved by Jesus and loved by Jesus. Mary had what Judas did not have: a loving relationship with Jesus.

And she was there at His crucifixion. She was there at His burial. She sought Him and found Him.

Mary rejoiced in the presence of Jesus, that He had come into her life. Her heart belonged entirely to God and she had devoid herself of all worldly goods as seen when she bathed His feet with the expensive ointment- The ointment for His burial.

Do we have that whole hearted love for God? St Augustine said that Jesus wishes to be loved and worshiped alone without companions. St Francis de Sales said that if the heart is not emptied of earthly affections, the love of God cannot enter. In His cruel death, Jesus gave us His all. It is not too late for us to give Him our all.

Do we check our cell phones during Mass or adoration? Do we come in late for Mass because we were busy doing other things? Do we opt for sporting events over Mass? At Mass God's ultimate love is there....we do not need to look any further. Are we detached from worldly affections--do we give more generously to the poor, do we give of our time and do we share with others what God has gifted us? Do we spend enough time in prayer?

Recommend reading the reflections for Passion Week found on the PAPA website.

God bless you.

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