March 28, 2004
Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.
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1. If Mary had taken Jesus’ course on full-life, we might imagine that there is a quiz along the way. Is this Mary’s practical application of what she had learned radical hospitality E-Mary-uel (Mary with you, not just GOD with us)?
2. What would it be like to anticipate the “burial” of folks that you come in contact with? How would our interactions with others change if we were living with them in light of burial? This is another fine example of having death on our left shoulder whispering advice into our ear (an image from Carlos Castaneda’s learnings from Don Juan).
It might even be seen that such care, on the macro scale, would care for the poor here being used or exploited for the gain that can come by saving up to someday take care of them rather than doing so right now.
3. Can you see Jesus learning from this encounter with Mary and it becoming the Eucharistic moment later in John when Jesus washes the feet of the disciples?What have you learned from this Mary moment?