Monday, March 21, 2016

She has performed a good service for me

Book of Isaiah 42:1-7. 
Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, 
Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. 
A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, 
Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. 
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spreads out the earth with its crops, Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: 
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, 
To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. 

Psalms 27(26): 
The LORD is my light and my salvation; 
whom should I fear? 
The LORD is my life's refuge; 
of whom should I be afraid? 

When evildoers come at me 
to devour my flesh, 
My foes and my enemies 
themselves stumble and fall. 

Though an army encamp against me, 
my heart will not fear; 
Though war be waged upon me, 
even then will I trust. 

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD 
in the land of the living. 
Wait for the LORD with courage; 
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 12:1-11. 
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, 
Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?
He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. 
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." 
(The) large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, 
because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him. 

"She has performed a good service for me" (Mt 26:10)
    The Gospel today relates that while the Lord was reclining at table with Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead, “Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus”… As we often read in the Gospel, Saint Mary greatly pleased Christ by the exceptional greatness of her faith. In the passage that precedes, as she wept for the death of her brother she made the Lord weep too; for she touched the tender feelings of the author of tenderness. And, even though he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, the Lord was to weep while Mary wept to demonstrate both his own tenderness and Mary’s worth… The Lord’s tears show us the mystery of the flesh he assumed; the resurrection of Lazarus brings to light the power of his divinity…

    In the present passage, see this woman’s devotion and faith. The others were at table with the Lord but as for her, she anointed his feet. The others were exchanging words and arguments with the Lord; but she, in the silence of her faith, wiped his feet with her hair. The others seemed to be honored, she to serve; but the service offered by Mary was of greater worth in the eyes of Christ than the most honorable seat of the guests. Besides,… about her the Lord said: “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her” (Mt 26:13).

    So what was the service this holy woman gave that would be proclaimed in the whole world, and would proclaim it daily? See her humility. She did not start by anointing the Lord’s head but his feet… She started with his feet so as to merit reaching his head because, as it is written: “those who humble themselves will be exalted but those who exalt themselves will be humbled” (Mt 23:12). She humbled herself to be exalted.

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