The good news for the day April 10, 2017
Monday of Holy Week (257)
Six days before the Passover Holyday, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived—the one Jesus had raised from the dead. They were giving a dinner for him there. Martha was serving. Lazarus was one of those enjoying the meal with him. Mary had a bottle of costly perfumed ointment made from a genuine aromatic source; with it, she massaged the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair. The whole house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. Judas Iscariot, one of his followers—the one who would betray Him—said, “Why was this ointment not sold for an awful lot of money and given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared really about the poor but because he used to pilfer from the money he was in charge of–and used to steal from contributions.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her, though, keep the rest of it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” A large crowd of His fellow Jews found out where he was; they came there–not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the religious leadership was planning to kill Lazarus too, because many Jews were turning that way, and believing in Jesus because of Lazarus. (John 12)
Let us gather the underlying current here. Mere wealth or mere poverty–is something external. It seems clear that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus had money–lots of it–very expensive perfume, a dinner for a lot of people–and so on. Jesus held them as close friends.
It is the spirit that counts. Love counts. Personal engagement counts. Greed and pride are bad things. Jesus accepts this odd behavior from Mary BECAUSE IT IS PERSONAL. It is unrelated to money. Why did she do it? His feet almost certainly were sore from all the walking. She loved Jesus–and she did what she could with what she had. And Jesus accepts his death. Accepts that His Presence counts–to people He loves and who love him. THAT is what counts. Love the ones you’re with, as the song goes. Care for the poor of heart, the needy of soul, those struggling to emerge, like Lazarus, from the tomb of a dead spiritual life.