“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6)
As Lent gradually draws to a close, we are presented with very significant events of the last moments our Lord Jesus spent on earth. Jesus loved Lazarus as well as his sisters, Mary and Martha but stayed behind when he was told of Lazarus’ illness. Jesus had a plan for Lazarus.
Mary and Martha must have felt betrayed when Lazarus died but in the end, they had cause for rejoicing. Today, Jesus was again in Bethany to celebrate what we would call a ‘Thanksgiving.’ Lazarus is back to life. People come from all over the place to eat and drink to the new life of Lazarus.
As her thanksgiving, Mary brought out a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus wiping his feet with her hair and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. Mary’s action was motivated by her love for God. Indeed, if we love God, nothing would be too much to give to Him. Mary is a kind of Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac for God’s sake.
Judas Iscariot felt Mary was wasting the oil. He protested the thanksgiving not because he cared for the poor but because as John puts it: “he was a thief.” We are not who we say we are, we are what we do. Greed makes us place money above God and when money becomes more important to us than God, we are ready to disobey and even sell God.
The chief priests who were at the party started plotting how to kill Lazarus because, on account of him, Jesus was gaining more followers. This is what hatred does to us; it prevents us from thinking straight. Once we hate, we are ready to do anything to bring people down. Hatred is poison.
As the Prophet Isaiah mentions in our first reading, God has called us to righteousness and we are the light to the nations. To succeed in this special calling, we must be willing to give our very best to God, be content with what we have and remove hatred from our hearts.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love you above all that this world has to offer. Amen.
(Monday of Holy Week. Bible Study: Isaiah 42:1-7, Psalm 27 and John 12:1-11).