“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it.” (John 12:5-6)
Mary and Martha must have felt betrayed when Lazarus died and Jesus failed to show up but, in the end, they realized that God sometimes gives us bitter medicine to heal us. Today, Jesus was again in Bethany to celebrate with the family. 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 and to express her love, 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. In truth, nothing is too much to offer to God. Nevertheless, ensure that your thanksgiving comes from a cheerful heart, that is, let it be an expression of your love for God – not an investment which you are hoping to get back in a double fold.
Judas Iscariot felt Mary was wasting the oil. He protested the thanksgiving not because he cared for the poor but, as John puts it: “he was a thief.” To those who heard him, Judas was a philanthropist, a lover of the poor but in reality, Judas wanted to keep the money for himself. To this day, there are so many Judas Iscariot in our world who specialize in begging for alms for the poor but these alms never get to the poor.
Let us examine our hearts. Some of us run non-governmental organizations, we campaign with pictures and videos of people suffering but we end up enriching ourselves. Just as the greed of Judas Iscariot caught up with him, greed would catch up with us if we fail to repent. The problem with greed is that no matter how much you steal, it is never enough! Judas wanted more, and he ended up selling his master, Jesus.
The chief priests who were at the Thanksgiving 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. They were supposed to be religious leaders yet they were plotting to kill someone who had just been raised from the dead just because they hated Jesus with so much passion.
Watch out for any form of hatred in your heart. Why do you hate your fellow human being? Is it because of what they did to you or just because they are more popular than you? Could it be because this person is better than you in your work place or business environment? Rather than trying to bring this person down by all means, why not go to him or her like Nicodemus to learn, why not go and ask them how they are able to do better than you? If they tell you, would you be willing to do it?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love and to appreciate those who are better than me, may I be a light to the nations, not a hypocrite. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 42:1-7, Ps. 27:1-3,13-14, John 12:1-11).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu