Embracing Sacrificial Love

EMPOWER YOUR FAITH / Daily Gospel Reflection, March 25, 2024 Holy Week — Monday Gospel — 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: In today’s Gospel reading on this solemn occasion of Holy Monday, we are presented with a profound moment of devotion and sacrifice, encapsulated in Mary’s act of anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume. As we delve into this passage, let us unpack its significance and draw parallels with the unfolding events of Holy Week.

Six days before Passover, Jesus arrives in Bethany, where He is warmly welcomed into the home of Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. Amidst the joyous reunion, Mary, Lazarus’ sister, seizes a precious opportunity to express her deep love and reverence for Jesus. She approaches Him with a liter of costly perfumed oil made from aromatic nard, anointing His feet and wiping them with her hair.

In Mary’s gesture of anointing, we witness an outpouring of sacrificial love and devotion. She offers the best she has, recognizing the significance of Jesus’ impending sacrifice. Her actions foreshadow the selfless love that Christ Himself will demonstrate in the days ahead. As the fragrance of the perfume fills the house, it symbolizes the sweet aroma of Christ’s love that permeates our lives, even amidst the impending darkness of His Passion and Crucifixion.

However, amidst this moment of profound devotion, we encounter the voice of dissent in the form of Judas, who questions the extravagance of Mary’s gesture. His words echo the doubts and distractions that often cloud our own hearts, leading us away from true worship and selfless love. But Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, affirms Mary’s actions, recognizing their deeper significance as a preparation for His burial.

As we journey through Holy Week, let us heed the lessons of Mary’s act of anointing. Like her, may we pour out our hearts in worship and devotion to Christ, recognizing the preciousness of His sacrifice for our salvation. Let us not be swayed by the voices of doubt or distraction, but rather, let us fix our gaze upon the One who willingly laid down His life for us.

In this Holy Week, may we embrace the sacrificial love of Christ, allowing His example to inspire and transform us. And as we await the joyous celebration of His resurrection, may we be reminded of the profound depth of His love for each one of us. Amen.

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