Monday in Holy Week
Francis of Paola
1st Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight.
I have put my spirit upon him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He does not shout or raise his voice
proclamations are not heard in the streets.
A broken reed he will not crush,
nor will he snuff out the light
of the wavering wick.
He will make justice appear in truth.
He will not waver or be broken
until he has established justice on earth;
the islands are waiting for his law.
Thus says God, Yahweh,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread the earth and all that comes from it,
who gives life and breath to those who walk on it:
I, Yahweh, have called you for the sake of justice;
I will hold your hand to make you firm;
I will make you as a covenant to the people,
and as a light to the nations,
to open eyes that do not see,
to free captives from prison,
to bring out to light those who sit in darkness.
Gospel: John 12:1-11
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where he had raised Lazarus, the dead man, to life. Now they gave a dinner for him, and while Martha waited on them, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus.
Then Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Judas, son of Simon Iscariot—the disciple who was to betray Jesus—remarked, “This perfume could have been sold for three hundred dinarii and turned over to the poor.” Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor; he was a thief and as he held the common purse, he used to help himself to the funds.
But Jesus spoke up, “Leave her alone. Was she not keeping it for the day of my burial? (The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have me.)”
Many Jews heard that Jesus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests thought about killing Lazarus as well, for many of the Jews were drifting away because of him and believing in Jesus.
Jesus was now a hunted man. His time was short, and all must have been aware of it, particularly Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The extravagance of her loving gesture is indeed remembered for all time, as Jesus said it would be. The jar of perfume she poured out on his feet was worth 300 denarii, or worth about a year’s wages at that time. It was love’s extravagance, in sharpest contrast to Judas’ calculation. These are the two main roads: love and money. Love gives itself now, but money is for the future (you could not live now on money but on what can be bought later on with money). The gospel is always challenging us to live now, to give now, to love now. Now is the only real time. As each future moment comes it is suddenly transformed into now; in a sense there is no future.
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