Isaiah 42:1-7 ● John 12:1-11
Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
We can read this story is a microcosm of the Gospel message. A luxurious gift is offered with deep love, and Jesus shows us how to receive it with gratitude. But a dark spirit of jealousy, miserliness, judgment, and self-interest opposes the gift and finds fault with it. Yet Jesus refuses to give into this spirit and upholds the beauty and love offered.
When have you opposed or protested giving gifts of love (in the form of money, acts of service, forgiveness, etc.) to others for any reason? Pray for the ability to be gracious and generous in your own giving, as well as celebratory of others’ generosity.
Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.