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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
 
Homilies/Reflections

Costly ointment
By FR JULIUS OLAITAN

March 26, 2018 (Monday of Holy Week)

 

Costly ointment

 

Dear friends in Christ, as we continue our journey into the Holy Week, we can only imagine, what each of the days meant for Jesus at the time. He knew the end was close at hand, yet he continued to do his work—the Father’s will. There were different concerns about him, some real and some not so. How many people sympathise with you in a calculative manner and how many do so genuinely? There are those who show concern just for what they can gain, do you do that too?

 

Our first reading today (Isaiah 42:1-7) is the first of the four songs, of the suffering servant of Yahweh. In it, Isaiah describes the call and mission of the Messiah, as one who brings justice and serves the cause of right. He is the light of the nations, who opens the eyes of the blind and delivers all people from darkness. This servant is not going to do that, by violence or propaganda, but by serving the cause of right and by an unwavering commitment to allowing the spirit of God to form and direct his life. While this passage  talks about Jesus, it also informs what mission his followers are called to, by becoming the suffering servants of their own time.

 

The gospel of today (John 12:1-11) describes an episode which took place six days before the passover. The concern of Mary was about the Lord. She was the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. To show her concern, she decided to prepare Jesus for his burial. “Mary took a pound of costly ointment, of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped it with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.” For the chief priests, their own concern was about the popularity of Jesus, on account of the raising of Lazarus from death. Their solution was a plan to put Lazarus to death, because on account of him, people were believing in Jesus. They wanted to destroy the evidence, of his good works. How often do people do that? People steal and destroy the records or burn down the office to hide their crimes.

 

The concern of Judas is however special, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” John added a note, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to take what was put into it.” Without going to the store, he knew the cost of the oil. He felt the oil was too costly to be given to the Lord, the money was more important. The thieves in our society, think the same way. They use the poor to get money, but they spend the money for themselves. What about you, have you spent time reflecting on, what it costs you in time and energy, when you serve the Lord; rather than truly serve him? Keep your focus on the Lord this week and ask him to direct your way.

 

Let us pray: Lord, keep us attentive to the things that truly matter. May we not miss the eternal reward you have promised. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


 
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Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.