Monday, 29 March 2021 : Monday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures we are called to focus our attention to the Lord and to turn our hearts and minds to Him. As we enter into this most solemn time of the Holy Week, we attune ourselves to the Lord and His truth, and seek Him with renewed faith and conviction. This Holy Week we are called to prepare ourselves to enter into the deepest mysteries of our faith, that of Our Lord’s Passion, His suffering, death and Resurrection.

In our first reading today, the Lord spoke to His people through the prophet Isaiah, speaking about the coming of His Servant Whom He would send into this world in order to do His will, and this Servant would be the One to do His will, to proclaim the glory of God and His salvation to the people, and all these would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all and the Son of God, born through Mary as the Son of Man. Through Christ, all that the Lord had promised His people would come to fruition.

That is why we all have hope, because Christ has entered into this world and brought with Him the assurance of eternal life for us. He has shown us the genuine love of God for us all His beloved ones, and by what He was about to do then, He gave us all the concrete evidence of His love, as He emptied Himself of all glory and power, and humbled Himself to take the condition of a slave, to be the One to bear the punishment and the sufferings due for us, bearing all of these upon Himself and dying on the Cross.

And in our Gospel passage today we heard of an interesting conversation that happened just as the Lord was about to embark into this final part of His earthly mission, when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, poured an expensive perfume of spikenard on the feet of the Lord, and then dried the Lord’s feet with her hair. This was truly an unusual circumstance, that must have surprised all who witnessed it, the disciples who were gathered at the house.

Judas Iscariot, the disciple, one of Twelve who would betray the Lord then criticised Mary for having wasted the good perfume in that way, and said that the perfume could have been sold for a good sum of money to be given to the poor. Of course it was mentioned that Judas had been helping himself to the money as one entrusted with the common fund of the Lord and His disciples.

As we can probably deduce, Judas Iscariot was not an uneducated person. On the contrary, he might be one of the most qualified among the disciples, being one who knew his way with money and other things, and the fact that he could later go on to the chief priests and plotted with them to hand over the Lord, and how he arranged with them in showing the One that had to be arrested, by kissing the Lord, were proofs of Judas Iscariot’s intelligence and capabilities.

However, Judas Iscariot ended up being tempted by all those desires of the world and sought more worldly pleasures and pursuits. One might have thought that the Lord’s revelation that He would suffer at the hands of His enemies and be crucified as the reason why Judas Iscariot chose to betray Him, and thinking that he would be better of to profit from the occasion, he ended up doing the unthinkable, selling off his own Lord and Master for a mere thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave at that time.

We can see here how Judas Iscariot threw everything for worldly possession, as limited, futile and terrible as those things can be. Meanwhile, on the other hand, Mary threw away everything for the Lord, and by using her hair to wipe the feet of the Lord clean, she humbled herself before all others, as the hair is the crown of a woman’s glory and by using that to wipe the feet, the dirtiest part of a person, she threw aside all worldly glory and honour, for the Lord.

And by rebuking Judas and praising what Mary had done, the Lord Himself showed how eventually, in a short while, He Himself would do the same, stripping Himself of all glory and taking up the position of a slave and a criminal, punished for all the multitudes of our sins, nailed to the Cross, and raised up high, scourged, bruised and wounded, in full obedience to the will of His Father.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard all of these, we are all called to distance ourselves from the distractions of the world, the temptations of worldly desires, so that we may be like Mary, and like Our Lord Himself, focusing our attention on the Lord alone and not on all sorts of temptations that will distract us and lead to our downfall just as Judas Iscariot had fallen. We must not allow our desires and those temptations from leading us down the wrong path.

Let us make the best use of this Holy Week as a time to reconnect ourselves with God, to refocus ourselves on Him, and to turn towards Him with renewed faith and zeal, and to rediscover that love and devotion that we should have for Him. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He still loves us all even after all of our disobedience and sins, and gave us His only begotten Son, to be our Saviour and Hope. He endured all the worst sufferings and rejections, so that we may live.

May the Lord be with us all and guide us in our journey, so that may come ever closer to Him and be ready to immerse ourselves deeply in the mysteries of His Passion, His suffering, death and Resurrection, and be filled with true grace and faith. May God bless us all and our good efforts, and help us to remain firm in faith. Amen.

Monday, 29 March 2021 : Monday of Holy Week (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

John 12 : 1-11

At that time, 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 spikenard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Judas Iscariot – the disciple who was to betray Jesus – remarked, “This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins, and the money given 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.

Monday, 29 March 2021 : Monday of Holy Week (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 26 : 1, 2, 3, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

When the wicked rush at me to devour my flesh, it is my foes who stumble, my enemies fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fail; though war break out against me, I will still be confident.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Monday, 29 March 2021 : Monday of Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

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, YHVH, 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, YHVH, 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.