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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Monday of Holy Week

1st Reading (Isa 42:1-7): Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased; upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench. Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spreads out the earth with its crops, who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: «I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness».
Responsorial Psalm: 26
R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies themselves stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.

Verscicle before the Gospel (---): Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our faults.

Gospel text (Jn 12,1-11): Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where he had raised Lazarus, the dead man, to life. Now they gave a dinner for him, and while Martha waited on them, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus.

Then Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Judas, son of Simon Iscariot —the disciple who was to betray Jesus— remarked, «This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins and turned over to the poor». Judas, indeed, had no concern for the poor; he was a thief and as he held the common purse, he used to help himself to the funds. But Jesus spoke up, «Leave her alone. Was she not keeping it for the day of my burial? The poor you always have with you, but you will not always have me».

Many Jews heard that Jesus was there and they came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests thought about killing Lazarus as well, for many of the Jews were drifting away because of him and believing in Jesus.

«Anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair»

Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater
(Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel summarizes two attitudes about God: Jesus Christ and life, in itself. Judas criticizes Mary for anointing Jesus' feet: «Judas, son of Simon Iscariot —the disciple who was to betray Jesus— remarked, ‘This perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins and turned over to the poor’» (Jn 12:4-5). What Judas said did not make sense, and it ties in with Jesus' doctrine. But it is much too easy to criticize what others may do, even when they had no hidden intentions, as it was the case with Judas.

Whatever our protest it must be an act of responsibility: with our protest we have to ask ourselves how would we do it instead, what are we willing to do, to do it better. Otherwise, our protest may just be —as it is actually the case here— the complaint, those who normally do it, wrongly use to make before those who try to do it the best they can.

Mary anoints Jesus' feet and she wipes them with her hair, because she truly believes this is what she must do. Her behavior can be qualified of splendid magnanimity: «Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine nard» (Jn 12:3). It is an act of love, and like any act of love, difficult to understand by those who do not share it. I think that, as of that moment, Mary realized what, centuries later would write saint Augustine: «Maybe in this world the feet of our Lord are still in need. For, of whom, other than his members, said He: ‘Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me. You spend that which you do not need, but you have done that which is good for my feet’».

Judas' complaint has no utility whatsoever, and it only led him to treachery. Mary's act led her to love her Lord even more and, as a consequence, to love more all the “feet” of Christ there are on this world.