a meditation for Monday in Holy Week

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 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.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 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.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

John 12

Holy Week is a time set aside to focus on our Lord’s sufferings, on his death on the cross and resurrection, and on something of the meaning of that for us and for the world.

The gospel reading for Monday takes us into the home of three of Jesus’s closest friends: Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They were paying him high honor as a close friend, but much more: their Messiah and Lord. Perhaps somehow by the Spirit and Jesus’s own words, they were privy to a clue received just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that something strange and wonderful was about to take place, which had not been imagined, at least not in the way it was about to happen.

Jesus said to [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 11

We do well to simply stop, look, and listen. And then be quiet. As we seek to follow our Lord’s steps to the cross this week, and try to get a glimpse and an understanding of what his disciples went through, and even something of his own sufferings.

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