The WORD in Other Words by Fr Oscar Alunday SVD (Philippines)
Monday of Holy Week
In Bethany, the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, was home for Jesus. Weary after a long journey on his way to the great city before the Passover, he dropped by to say hello and goodbye to his friends. Martha knew exactly what to prepare for their guest and friend.
The prophet Isaiah in the first reading speaks of someone Chosen and Beloved upon whom the Spirit who gives justice to the nations “rest”. No wonder people came to this house as soon as they learned that Jesus was there. A big crowd had already gathered in this house when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. And, in today‘s gospel, Lazarus was “reclining at table with him” — eating together and enjoying their meal.
Isaiah talks of Someone “not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.” Jesus is not in the street but at table, with friends. Martha was serving hot food while Mary was rubbing Jesus‘ feet with the aromatic nard oil.
The ointment‘s warmth had a soothing effect on everyone in the house, except for Judas: who was infuriated to jealousy, questioning Mary‘s motivation. Isaiah would say, “… I formed you and set you as a covenant of the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement…”
Judas‘ blindness is now exposed; he loved money more than the poor and Jesus. What are my blind spots today? How can I best express my commitment to Jesus in my present situation? How do I sustain good relations with my colleagues?
Jesus defended Mary and womanhood; He affirmed and understood Mary‘s motivation in anointing his feet. How do I treat womanhood in my working relationship with women?