Monday of Holy Week
(Isaiah 42:1-7; John 12:1-11)
Judas is a scoundrel, yet he raises an interesting question in today’s gospel. He is criticizing the use of costly ointment to anoint Jesus’ feet. Sometimes people disapprove of Church officials for similarly spending lavishly on accoutrements for worship. Are such expenditures justified?
Jesus informs Judas that the ointment is being used not just for a regular ritual but for his death. By the same logic family members who drive Chevrolets will ride in a Cadillac as part of a funeral cortege. But there is more here. Mary recognizes Jesus’ exulted state. As her sister Martha has already proclaimed, Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God…” By using the ointment Mary calls attention to this fact to the edification of all.
Churches should expend a significant amount of resources for worship, but this need is not exclusive. They are also obliged to care for the poor and to form their members as Catholic Christians. These latter interests were Jesus’ principal concern as he lived and remain his legacy today.