March 21, 2016

The Gospel Today

Monday of Holy Week

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 him, 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.

Reflection (Eldrick S. Pena)



In the Gospel, Judas took offense on the gesture of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfumed oil, saying that the money could have just been given to the poor. This image of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet put me to reflection, asking myself, “What will I not give to the Master who has loved me first and who has allowed his generosity to abundantly flow in my life?” Mary Magdalene was willing to give her all to the Master and no amount of money can equal that gesture of gratitude and thanksgiving which Judas failed to take notice.

When I left my work and my family almost four years ago to respond to Jesus’ call “to come and follow me” and pursue a vocation to the priesthood, I thought that I have given up so much. It was not easy to leave my comfort zone to explore new frontiers where things are yet uncertain. But as I went through formation and as I look back on what I had left behind, with all humility and without any regret, I realized that what I had left behind is nothing in comparison with what I have attained. For as the great mystic Teresa of Avila said: “God alone suffices.”

The Lord cannot be outdone in His generosity and no amount of human effort can surpass or at least equal this generosity. We are just receivers of God’s gifts and what can we offer Him in return? Nothing. Only our gratitude and our own response of generosity to the generosity He has shown us.

This Holy Week, we are invited to reflect on God’s generosity, who offered His Son’s life for our sake. What will be our response to this great act of love and generosity from Him?

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