1st Reading: Is 42:1-7 ; Psalm: 27. R. v.1a; Gospel: Jn 12:1-11
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving, but do not give your leftovers. Give until it hurts, until you feel the pain.” (St Mother Teresa of Calcutta).
The ointment that Mary lavished on the feet of Jesus was obviously expensive. The opinion of Judas that it should have been sold and the money given to the poor suggests so. Three hundred denarii was a lot of money big enough to feed numerous indigent people. A denarius was a full day’s wage for a working Jew. So this ointment of pure nard was worth approximately the nine month salary of a working Jew. This extravagance baffled Judas and we don’t have to blame him because we possibly would have done the same if found in similar circumstance.
Does God not discourage waste? Did Jesus not ask his disciples to gather the remains of the food after feeding a crowd of four and five thousand respectively? So why would he turn around and permit this wastage? Was Judas wrong to have remembered the poor at the sight of this extravagance? The point of this whole narrative is that the gesture of Mary towards Jesus is a symbolic expression of the rightfully action of love towards the poor. Extravagant love is symbolised in this ointment. And the pouring of this ointment on Jesus illustrates how we should lavish love and kindness on the poor and those around us.
Jesus was likewise speaking to us when he said to Judas: “The poor you always have with you but you do not always have me.” It is obvious that Jesus is not humanly present with us today but he lives in the poor; in you and me. And so Jesus expects extravagant love from us towards others and most especially towards the poor. The poor deserves the best. They want our love not our pity. So when we give them our leftovers or our old clothes when we can afford something new or better, it shows the value we place on them. If God deserves the best, the poor deserves the best too. Extravagant love is all we owe each other.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may our love for you be visible in our love for others. Amen.
Your reflection is apt, Padre. I’m inspired.
Amen… May we never stop in giving and showing love to one another.
Egbuonu Johnpaul Okey