Reflection by Kathryn Mulderink
Today’s Gospel: John 12:1-11
In preparation for Passover a dinner is prepared in Bethany, which has been a kind of resting place for Jesus during His ministry. A large crowd has gathered, hoping to glimpse both Jesus and Lazarus, who had been called back from the dead, with their own eyes.
During the dinner, Mary takes extremely expensive oil (worth about one year’s average wages!) and, rather than anoint Jesus’ head — which would be a usual sign of giving honor to a guest — she anoints His feet. Mary knows that she cannot add anything to Jesus’ dignity by anointing His head, so she humbles herself before Him instead, in a rather extravagant use of precious oil.
Judas voices his objection about the apparent “waste” of the oil, suggesting that it could have been better used to serve the poor. But Judas is the poor one. Judas does not suddenly become wicked when something snaps as he followed Jesus. Judas has been poor and selfish all along, and he fails to open himself fully to all that Christ longs to pour into him. He has been following Christ in body only, nursing his own ideas, pilfering from the money bag, cloaking his real intentions in pious language. In this instance, while his words seem to express concern for the poor, his own impoverished heart is grasping for more for himself.
If John, who wrote this Gospel, knew that Judas was a thief, surely Jesus knew too. And yet, He did not turn Judas away or point out his sins publicly. In His infinite patience and desire for the salvation of all, as well as His concern for the unity of the Apostles who would support the Church, Jesus allowed Judas to remain with them, all the way to the bitter end.
In what areas can I be more open to the Holy Spirit so that I am less calculating according to the world’s wisdom, and learn more creative ways to love, more extravagant ways to give, more generous ways to serve?
Heavenly Father, free us from our worldly understanding, and break through limitations of our thinking, so that we see clearly that we cannot be too generous with You, with the Church, and with others.
Copyright 2020 Kathryn Mulderink
Kathryn is married to Robert, mother of seven, and a Secular Discalced Carmelite. Over 25 years, she has worked in school and parish administration, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and speaker, collaborating with dioceses, parishes, and ministries to help others encounter Christ and engage their faith. www.KathrynTherese.com
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