Jesus defends Mary when Judas attacks her for anointing Jesus with costly oil. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Justice so he can refuse to steal in any way and by growing in the Virtue of Generosity so he can generously invest in build and supporting beautiful parishes for the glory of God.
Holy Week – Monday – Jn 12:1-11
Nearing the end of His Incarnation, Jesus returns to Bethany, where He raised Lazarus from the dead, on the Saturday before the Jewish Passover. Preparing for His Passion, Jesus attends a dinner in His honor at the home of Simon the Leper (Mt 26:6); Lazarus is at table and his sisters, Martha and Mary, prepare a meal for Jesus and His Apostles.
While the industrious Martha serves, the deeply devoted Mary draws near to Jesus to anoint His feet with pure nard, a highly fragrant and expensive oil from the spikenard plant, imported from India. Taking a pound (a very large amount), Mary kneels before Jesus and anoints His feet and wipes them with her hair, an act which would have caused great scandal: women were not disciples of rabbis; women did not let down their hair in public; women did not wipe men’s feet with their hair. However, Jesus commends Mary’s act: it is a profound act of adoration; it provides a beautiful comfort to Jesus; it prefigures the burial preparations for Jesus’ body after His death on the Cross. The beautiful fragrance of spikenard and Mary’s humble act of love spreads throughout the house, a sign of the blessings of Jesus’ Gospel will spread throughout the world.
When the greedy Judas complains about Mary’s generous act, Jesus bluntly rebukes Judas and defends Mary. Judas’ objection the nard could be sold (almost a year’s wages for a day laborer; perhaps $25,000 in today’s dollars) for the poor is a false one; Judas was a thief who stole from Jesus and will soon betray Jesus for the paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver. Jesus is not indifferent to the poor, for elsewhere He instructs men to give alms. Jesus commands that Mary keep the remainder of the oil to anoint His body at burial, and may be establishing the future practice of supporting the financial needs of His Church (Acts 4:34-35). The chief priests, to maintain their power and avoid a potential violent crackdown by the Romans, plan to kill Jesus and Lazarus, for Lazarus’ very public raising from the dead is “evidence” of Jesus’ supernatural power.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
In this simple passage, marvel at how Jesus perfectly demonstrates parts of the Virtue of Justice: He Encourages the humble act of Religion (Adoration/Sacrifice for God) by Mary; He shows Gratitude for Mary’s beautiful and comforting act; He Vindicates Mary from Judas’ unjust attacks and He justly rebukes Judas.
Refuse to steal in any way
Realize: While most would condemn the stealing of Judas, many men imitate Judas by stealing in little ways: using another’s internet account to avoid paying, cheating at games, pirated music/videos, “fudging” on taxes, inflating work hours or expenses, etc.
Believe: Reflect upon The 7th Commandment -Thou shall not Steal (CCC 2401-2463).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Justice so I never steal again, confess my any act of stealing in the past, and make reparations to those I have sinned against by stealing.
Generously invest to build and support beautiful parishes
Realize: Similar to Judas, some wrongly oppose investing money to build and maintain beautiful parishes; over the millennia, millions have been inspired and drawn to God through beautiful parishes and Cathedrals.
Believe: Recall your Obligation to support the Church (CCC 2043, 1351).
Pray: Jesus, Generous God, help me grow in the Virtue of Generosity (a part of Justice) so I joyfully and generously give money to build and maintain beautiful parishes for Your glory and to draw many to Your Holy Catholic Church.