Scripture: 1st Reading: Is42,1-7; Resp. Psalm: Ps27,1-3,13-14; Gospel: Jn12,1-11
The Servant of the Lord. The Chosen One of the Most High. The possessor of the Spirit of the living and true God. The One whose mission would be service and whose service would be characterized by justice, peace, concord and faithfulness.
The Islands await His law. Which law? The law of love, self giving, sacrifice, a new understanding of what it means to be human. The entire creation longs for His redemption. Fallen humanity eagerly waits for the freedom He would bring.
The mission was given to Him by Yahweh, the living and loving God.
In the words of today's prophecy from Isaiah, "I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness."
That mission would be fulfilled in a few hours time. The place of fulfillment would be the cross of salvation. But before then, our Lord took time to bid farewell to His friends, even though they themselves did not know at that time. Today, in the gospel, He is at Bethany, six days before the Passover, to visit Lazarus and his sisters.
On this last visit to the house of Lazarus, Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of our Lord and wiped His feet with her hair. The word of God tells us that the entire house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. While Mary was performing this act of love, Judas Iscariot, who would shortly write his name in infamy, complained that the ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
St. John who wrote today's gospel made us understand that Judas did not say this out of love for the poor but because he was a thief and used to steal from the money box that was entrusted to him for the entire brethren. We see here a man who was with our Lord but was totally possessed by self love. Judas believed the world started and ended with him.
In response, our Lord said: "Leave her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me." We see here that in spite of having a foreknowledge of the perfidy of Judas, our Lord still showed him love. Our Lord would do this to the end.
On this Monday of Holy Week, let us follow our Lord, the faithful Servant of Isaiah's prophecy, into Bethany. Let us contemplate Him, who knew that in a few hours, He was going to be made to pass through a suffering no human person had ever and will ever be made to endure.
Let us see Him totally at peace, going about His normal duties, even predicting His own burial while He was eating this supper in the house of Lazarus. We must not forget that he was a thirty three year old man, in His prime, full of life, with a powerful mission that disturbed hearts and consciences, a prophet whose fame resounded in all of Israel and beyond.
It is important for us here to know that our Lord knew that all that He had accomplished in His mission on earth was to lead to the events of this week. This week was designed to fulfill the will of the Father. He patiently awaited the fulfillment of His Father's desire.
As we journey with Him, let us think of what we would have done if we were in that supper room in Bethany. What understanding would we have had? What character would we have been? Putting ourselves in the shoes of our Lord, what evaluation would we have given to the disciples? In our present state of life, which character would have fitted us the most?
Let us reflect on the love that made Him do all these. Let us refrain from sin. Let us seek the paths of righteousness. Let us cling to Him.
Let us pray: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that though in our weakness we fail, we may be revived through the Passion of your Only Begotten Son." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.