Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Imagine you are hosting a dinner to celebrate your best friend’s birthday. Before he or she arrives, you probably set the table with your fancy silverware and chill a nice bottle of wine. You make ready your home in anticipation of his or her coming, showing you truly care about them. In today’s Gospel, we hear how Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus with expensive perfume six days before his crucifixion. Just like you would prepare your house for a party, Mary prepares Jesus’ body for his death and resurrection.
We must anoint our own hearts and homes in preparation for Jesus’ return, a celebration of the world’s Salvation, made possible by his triumph over Evil. As we approach the end of Lent, let us remind ourselves that Lent is a time of preparation, during which we cleanse our hearts and minds of distractions to be ready to receive God’s love.
—Dana Coons is a senior at St. Ignatius College Prep. She is from Chicago and will be staying local for college, attending Northwestern next fall. Dana is a ballet dancer with the studio company of Ballet Chicago, and loves to paint, sing, play the piano, and bake.
God of love, My prayer is simple:
Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me.
I know only that I cannot have real strength
unless I rely on you.
I cannot feel protected
from my many weaknesses
until I turn to you
for forgiveness and your unalterable love.
Help me to share this strength, protection and love with others.