Jesus’ Life: Chapter 15 – Jesus’ Ministry Before His Passion
It was Sunday, six days before the Feast of the Passover, and Jesus went to Bethany where he attended, what was possibly a Thanksgiving dinner for raising Lazarus from the dead. At the dinner, Martha, once again, did the serving and Lazarus ate at the table along with Jesus and others including, Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities for thirty pieces of silver.
During the meal, Mary took a jar of expensive aromatic oil and anointed Jesus’ feet, filling the house with its beautiful fragrance. On seeing this, Judas complained saying, “Why wasn’t this oil sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” However, Jesus immediately intervened saying, “Leave her alone. She has kept it for the day of my burial. For you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me!”
The contrasting personalities of the people at this meal are a reminder of the many pathways open to us in our life:
- Martha continued to serve as she had previously done when Jesus visited Bethany; her ministry was one of service.
- Mary, like Martha her sister, also had much to thank Jesus for; He was the Son of God and He had raised her brother back to life. The expensive aromatic oils and the anointing of his feet were a small token of her deep love for Jesus and God the Father. The evangelist St Matthew writes of Mary, “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her”.
- Lazarus, he remained in continuous silent reflection and prayer; giving thanks to God, his creator and redeemer.
- Judas’, his selfishness and false charity were transparent to Jesus. Indeed, St John describes Judas as a thief and unconcerned for the poor; having also stolen from the disciple’s money box.
- Jesus, burdened by the knowledge of his imminent death and burial, accepts Mary’s token of love saying, “She did it to prepare me for burial” (Matthew 26:12) but also, in response to Judas’ comments, He points out that the poor will always exist so, we can reach out and help them whenever we wish. (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, John 12:1-8)
Are any of my traits or behaviours similar to those described above; sharing, serving, giving, loving, reflecting, praying … or envy, betrayal, hypocrisy, greed…?
Lord Jesus, may I forever respect the thoughts and works of others, seeing only good and giving only thanks. Strengthen my commitment to seek no reward, only that of meeting you.
Prayer: Teach Us (St Ignatius of Loyola)
Teach us Good Lord;
To serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labour and to ask for no reward,
Save that of knowing we do your will.