SINGLE-MINDED DEVOTION

Monday of Holy Week      

            Think of this scene: While they are having supper, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with very expensive aromatic nard. Such perfumed oil cost around 300 denarii – equivalent to one year’s wage of an ordinary worker. After anointing them, Mary dries Jesus’ feet with her hair.

            That is the way this model disciple loves Jesus. She does not count the cost, and she does not mind what others may say. Mary’s devotion to Jesus is single-minded and knows no bounds. She does not mind appearing foolish before world in expressing her love for the Lord.

            That is the way of love. It follows the logic of the heart more than the logic of the mind. Judas, using the logic of the mind, calculates the cost and how the amount may have been used to help the poor. But, actually, he does not care for the poor but for what he can get. For Judas, everything has a price; money is all that matters.

            We may be inclined to think, along with Judas: that it is a waste to spend our lives on Jesus. We could reasonably give to him from our surplus of time or material goods. Many of us would readily offer to God that which is easy to give, that which is not too costly or too expensive – and not go any further.

            But Mary’s act of ‘wasting’ her greatest treasure on Jesus confronts or challenges such thinking. It demonstrates that complete surrender to Christ brings great honor to him, joy to the giver, and encouragement to the entire Church. (Leo Zanchettin) John tells us that “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

            I’d like to share with you the commentary and reflection of Leo Zanchettin on this gospel passage: “As we love and serve Jesus with our lives – both in prayer and in service of the poor, sick, and needy – our actions are like Mary’s ointment poured out on the Lord.” “The love for Jesus that underlies such actions and our choice to lavish our lives on him and his people join us to Mary and all those throughout history who have ‘wasted’ themselves on Jesus.” May the sacrifice of our lives fill our homes and our churches, with the fragrance of loving surrender to Christ.

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