Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue our journey through the Holy Week, the holiest moment in our whole liturgical year. We progress on from what we celebrate yesterday in Palm Sunday of our Lord’s Passion, when we celebrate the coming of the King of glory into His city, praised and welcomed by the people crying out, “Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!”
And as we progress towards the celebrations of the Easter Triduum, when we commemorate the same King, Who was abandoned by His people, condemned to death and put to death on the cross, and later to rise from the dead, through these few days in between these two important events, all of us are called to reflect on what our Lord had done for our sake through His Passion, death and resurrection.
God has allowed Himself to assume the human flesh, taking up our form to share with us the suffering we have received because of our sins and wickedness. And while we sinned and disobeyed Him, He was willing to forgive us, as He wanted us all to be reconciled to Him, because He loved each one of us. And therefore, because of this great love which our God had shown us, definitely we want to thank Him and to glorify Him for all He had done for us.
In the Gospel today, that was what Mary, the sister of Lazarus had done onto Jesus. Imagine, brothers and sisters in Christ, the joy that she must have had, when she saw her brother Lazarus, who was very sick and whom once thought to be dead, rose from the dead because of what Jesus had done for him. We can just imagine just how great the joy is in the heart of Mary, of having received such a great grace from God, the gift of a new life.
Therefore, she anointed His feet with expensive perfume, told to be from pure spikenard, among the most expensive and highest quality of perfumes, honouring Him and glorifying Him. In another account from the Gospels, Mary also wet His feet with her tears and dried them all with her hair. Such was the adoration and worship that she had given to Him, entrusting Him with all of her attention and her heart, and yet, Judas judged her and complained on what she had done.
Judas, under the pretext that Mary was wasting the perfume that was so expensive that it could have been sold to provide money to be given to the poor had judged Mary in front of others, pretending to care for the poor. But as mentioned in the Gospel passage itself, he was not concerned at the least for the poor, but because when Mary did that to Jesus, Judas was filled with jealousy and desire, greed and anger, because he was not able to help himself to the money which thus far he had taken from the common funds of the disciples.
In all this, we encounter the situation that often happens in our world today, when there are many who accuse us in the Church as being removed from the reality of our world, and many who slandered and attacked the Church because they thought that the Church had been an elitist institution who could have done all the things that Jesus had asked us to do, if they were to strip down all of their churches and properties and sell off everything, giving them all to the poor.
But they did not realise just how much the Church had done for the sake of the poor and the needy. The Church is the greatest and the most active contributor to charity and good works anywhere in the world. It has done so much for the sake of those who need assistance, but of course there are always more to be done to help. And the help from each and every one of us is needed.
Many perceived the Church as being ignorant of the plight of the poor, because they saw the actions of many Christians who are indifferent and selfish, greedy and filled with corruption just like Judas Iscariot. Many of us are putting our own wants and desires ahead of our obligations to serve the Lord with faith, and that is why many people found the Church scandalised, because of our own actions, all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet we did not act as how Christians should have acted and lived.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all learn from the example of Mary, and not from the examples shown by Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. Let us all leave behind our greed, our attachments to worldly pleasures and all the things that had corrupted our hearts, our minds and our entire being, as how they had turned Judas into betraying Jesus. All of us had indeed once erred, but there is always the opportunity to turn ourselves into a new life.
Let us all therefore seek to be humble and to act as Mary, the sister of Lazarus had done. Let us all devote our time and effort from now on to give our best to the Lord, putting our complete trust in Him and not in worldly matters and goods. Let us not fall into the same temptation as Judas had fallen into, so that we may not fall into damnation but may instead receive eternal life. May God be with all of us, always. Amen.