Meditation for Monday of Holy Week

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
Gospel: John 12:1-11

As Holy Week starts, we are reminded of the journey we’ve taken with Jesus this liturgical year, from the words at his Baptism in the Jordan ("Here is my [beloved Son]… with whom I am pleased." – Isaiah 42:1) to his time just before death.  In each case, he is anointed – at the Baptism, by the Holy Spirit; at the house of Lazarus, by Mary Magdalene – thereby showing "the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13).

The important thing to note is just how bountiful the gifts of God are, and how good our gifts to Him should be in return.  Mary used oils that, by Judas’ estimate, were 300 days’ wages (literally 300 denarii, the day’s pay of a field worker) – if we figure minimum wage (currently $5.15/hr) for an 8-hr day (and field workers actually work longer than 8 hours), 300 days’ wages comes to a minimum of $12,360 in today’s currency.  Put in that context, we can understand Judas’ indignation about it.  That is, until we realize what kind of blessing was given in return.

While we were still sinners (i.e., evildoers), God the Father not only sent Jesus among us, but He also sacrificed him for our sake.  Not only that, but Jesus gave us his flesh to eat as spirtual food for our life’s journey, thereby fulfilling Psalm 27:2, "evildoers come at me to devour my flesh."

As former enemies of God who have been redeemed by the death of His Son, $12,000 seems like a mere token tribute to be paid to the one who conquered death.


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