_“There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.” (John 12:2-3)
Mary and Martha must have felt betrayed when Lazarus died and Jesus failed to show up but, in the end, they realised that Jesus had a plan. The sickness and death of Lazarus were not for evil but for the glory of God. Today, Jesus is again in Bethany. Mary and Martha express their thanksgiving to God by playing host to Jesus.
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. For Judas Iscariot, Mary was wasting this oil. “It could have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Meanwhile, he said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief.
Nothing is too much to give to God so long as it comes from our hearts. Just as Jesus could see the mind of Judas Iscariot, God sees everything that is going on in our minds. He knows when our thanksgiving is merely a show-off and when it is genuine. As expensive as that oil was, it is still not enough to pay for the life of Lazarus. Come to think of it, if God were to charge us for the air we breathe, I guess we would all be dead already.
Jesus told Judas Iscariot to leave Mary alone because she was preparing for his burial. Jesus knew that Judas had no intention of helping the poor but he wanted to help himself. To this day, there are many Judas Iscariots in our world who go from place to place canvasing for aid to the poor only for them to receive it and use it to help themselves.
The chief priests who were at thanksgiving started plotting on how to kill Lazarus because, on account of him, Jesus was gaining more followers. They came to felicitate with Mary and Martha not because they cared but simply to confirm if it was true that Jesus really raised Lazarus from the dead. Whether we like it or not, there are people, like these chief priests who come to our celebrations with ulterior motives; pretending to smile with us but with hatred in their hearts.
This is holy week. Let us examine our conscience. Do I hate people because I feel they are becoming more popular than myself? Do I seek ways to bring people down just because they are successful? Do I pretend to advocate for the poor like Judas Iscariot only for me to help myself with the proceeds thereafter?
Never forget that God sees everything. Nothing is hidden from him, not even the secret thoughts and intentions of our hearts. It is better to be good than to pretend to be good. People may be clapping for you thinking you are good but when the time comes, your evil deeds will be exposed.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, teach me to give thanks from the depths of my heart and grant that I may be a light to the nations; not a hypocrite. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 42:1-7, Ps. 27:1-3,13-14, John 12:1-11).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu