A reading from the gospel according to John 12:1-11:
1 Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
3 Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,
5 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”
6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.
7 So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
9 The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
10 And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
11 because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.
Pointers for Reflection:
1. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is a precursor of the resurrection of Jesus which gives us the message that indeed life does not end in death. He is alive and his presence during the dinner was a living testament of the power of Jesus. Many Jews came to believe in Him because they saw the sign. On the other hand, the chief priests had a contrasting attitude towards Jesus. They were jealous and fearful of His growing popularity. So they plotted to kill Him.
2. Two other characters also have contrasting roles in this story. Mary was full of love and generosity. Judas Iscariot was not only a traitor but also a thief! Money was his only concern and he will do everything including betraying his Master just to make money.
3. Judas Iscariot uses the poor in his hypocritical opposition to the wasteful use of an expensive oil. Even today, the poor are always used and abused by some people especially politicians but real service to them is apparently lacking.
4. Mary’s wiping of the feet of Jesus is also a precursor to the wiping of the feet of the apostles by no less than Jesus Himself. It shows her deep relationship with Jesus which does not count the cost. It also reveals her humility and piety.