The Good News for the day, March 26, 2018
Monday of Holy Week (257)
Six days before the Passover Holy Day, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived—the one Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving, Lazarus was one of the persons eating with him. Mary took a large flask of expensive perfumed oil (made from genuine aromatic nard); she rubbed it into the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair! The home was filled with the oil’s fragrance. Judas the Iscariot, one of the persons inspired by him—the one who would betray him—then remarked, “Why wasn’t this oil sold—it’s probably worth a year’s pay—and given to the poor?” (He was mentioning this not because he really cared for poor people, but because he was a thief, kept the books, and used to steal from the donations.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her hold onto this for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you all the time, but you don’t always have me.” The Judean public found out he was there, and they went there—not just because of him, but also to see Lazarus, the one he had raised from the dead. The leading religious men made plans to kill Lazarus too, because so many Judeans were turning away from them—believing in Jesus because of Lazarus. (John 12)
The start of Holy Week brings resurrection, waste, money, greed and deadly plans.
Most of us—instinctively—would side with Judas here. What good is this tremendous waste? If you and I had been there, seen this extraordinary scene, we might have made all sorts of judgments—a hint of sexuality, a sense of surprise that the humble Jesus lets this happen, but, most of all, a feeling of waste.
In the end—it is all about money—it is not about money. The follower of Jesus is indifferent, in the end, to it. It is not that we are indifferent to poor people—to those in need—but neither do we condemn the rich. (In a personal note here—let me confess that I have just recently repented of a very real prejudice against billionaires).
Obviously, as we read this scene, Lazarus, Martha and Mary are rich folks! It is what we do with what we got. Martha does her thing. Lazarus—like it or not—is doing his thing—being alive. Mary does her thing. It is individual response that is important.
You and I do what we can for one another. We recognize different needs in different people—some do need money. Some need health care, cheer, a visit, a ride, a moment of silence. You and I—it is sharing Good News—to do what we can for each need of others—we may give money, but the real call is to use whatever we have of value to fulfill a need, to be Jesus for the Jesus in our brothers and sisters.