Monday, April 2, 2012

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”
― Mother Teresa

Gospel text (Jn 12,1-11):
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages
and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.

Mary of Bethany gladly poured out a year's salary on Jesus' feet (Jn 12:3, 5). Martha joyfully spared no labor or expense to throw a large banquet for Jesus (Jn 12:2). The magi braved many months of hardship, danger, and travel to bring expensive gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense to Jesus, along with their love and homage (Mt 2:11). For each of these, the prospect of being allowed to give to Jesus outweighed any cost or inconvenience.

Judas saw things differently. He didn't give to Jesus. Instead, he took from Jesus. He took Jesus' money, helping "himself to what" others gave to Jesus (Jn 12:6). He took advantage of the position that Jesus gave him as a disciple, saying to the chief priests: " 'What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?' They paid him thirty pieces of silver" (Mt 26:15). Judas took all the lessons Jesus lovingly taught His disciples during the last precious days of His life, which we call Holy Week, and trashed them. That's because Judas spent Holy Week "looking for an opportunity to hand [Jesus] over" (Mt 26:16) instead of listening to Jesus.

What are your plans for Holy Week? Will you give to Jesus or take from Him? If you're going to take from Jesus, "take" His Eucharistic body (Mt 26:26), especially on Holy Thursday. Take time to adore Him. Take Him at His word.

Our lifestyles should proclaim our passion for Christ so comprehensively and boldly that anyone observing us for a few minutes would have to come to the conclusion that we are preoccupied with love.

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