26 March
Jn 12:1-11

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’ 
When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

Judas will be with us many times during Holy Week – almost every day.  There must be significance in this.  We cannot ignore him; we have to look at him.  He comes to us already judged and condemned in John’s gospel.  He stands there, hopeless, expecting no mercy. 

John wrote, “He had no concern for the poor; he was a thief and used to help himself to the funds.”  The other gospel writers only record what Judas did, and refrain from passing judgment on him.  As if in contrast to John’s testy presence we have Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus.  What is she doing to the atmosphere?  “She took a pound of costly perfume…and anointed the feet of Jesus…. The whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged,” Jesus had said (Mt 7:1).  Our judgment may be factually true: that’s the bait on the trap.  But it is not the whole truth: that’s the trap.  All our judgments are incomplete.  We don’t know the full truth about anyone.  And we hardly begin to understand the mercy of God. 


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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