Monday, August 6, 2018
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
We see here an example of extreme love, as Mary took a valuable pint of perfume to anoint Jesus’ feet and wipe them with her hair. The fragrance of the perfume filled the whole house. In the same way, Mary’s action of love filled the hearts of those who witnessed what she did for Jesus.
But then as a counter, we also see an opposite example in Judas Iscariot. We who have looked ahead know he betrayed Jesus; we see here also that he used to steal money for himself from their shared resources. Judas complained because pouring out that perfume meant he could not take a portion for himself.
Mary’s actions were selfless and directed outward – first to Jesus and then by extension to those who saw her act of love. Judas’ actions were self-centered and directed only toward himself – what he could have for himself alone.
Jesus knew he would soon depart from this earth in a way that most of us do not know. Probably that is good. But it also means that we never know when will be the last time we get to influence someone in a positive way, to do something that has greater implications than the action itself. Mary’s actions are a reminder to anyone of us to do the best good, whenever we can and however we can, the best that we can. For like Jesus, we will not always have with us those we love.
Today is a good day, Lord, to do something helpful or kind or compassionate or understanding for someone else. Too often I can overlook these opportunities, because like Judas, I want to carry out my own agenda. Cultivate in me a more selfless attitude, a more loving attitude, for the sake of my savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.