Monday, 2 April 2012

Monday in Holy Week

Pure Unbounded Love:

John 12:1-11

"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."

Mary anoints Jesus with costly oil, once again an act of devotion different and more understanding than her sister's service.

Jesus’ response to the false piety of Judas doesn't excuse us from caring for the poor, rather it is positive toward Him.

The poor will always need us and we will always need to respond to them, but those people would not always have had Jesus with them. It appears that Mary by way of her closeness to Jesus, was all too aware of this and this act of devotion was a preparation for things to come, for death and burial.

I can easily get my priorities confused and serve God or the poor based on a warped sense of duty, my own guilt, fear of the consequences or pride in my own accomplishments. Whilst doing so I fail to understand that in Jesus, God brings grace the unmerited gift of forgiveness and new life.

When I accept this and recognise and live in Christ, allowing the gospel to transform my life then doing things like helping the poor, making decisions which are routed in Christ, and loving my neighbour, becomes instinctive.

This life is costly, like Mary, I prepare for Jesus' agony and death and to walk with him to the cross, and yet more costly to myself personally I pledge to give my life to the service of God.

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