SCRIPTURE: John 12:1-11
Mary Anoints Jesus
1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them[a] with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and the money given to the poor?” 6 (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.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it[c] so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
The Plot to Kill Lazarus
9 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. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
William G. Carter writes, “Much of modern religion focuses only on what is useful, practical, and cost-effective. Concern for austerity arises when resources seem slim. Yet when it comes to the life of faith, we may discover our hearts are diminished if the budget is our first concern. Should we live spendthrift lives? No. Can we justify the wasting of God’s gifts? Not really. However, long before a gift can be wasted, it must first be received.”
In this current situation, we find ourselves in, I have noticed two things. I have seen situations where people or corporations have attempted to take advantage of the anxiety, the panic, and the uncertainty of this virus. And it breaks my heart. It angers me. It shows me the worst that humanity has to offer. But the second thing I have seen is situations where people or corporations have gone above and beyond; they have given much, they have taken measures to help their customers, their employees, their friends, and neighbors. And that has helped repair my broken heart. It has renewed my faith in humanity to see some of the best that humanity has to offer when we help one another. So, I try and invite you to do the same, to not become overwhelmed by the stories of greed and evil, and instead continue to build my hope and faith on the stories of generosity and love.
What is the most lavish gift you have ever given to another person? What is the most lavish gift you have ever received from another person?
Giving and loving God, teach us to love and to give extravagantly, and not count the cost. You gave your only Son, a gift beyond extravagant, for the salvation of the world. In this time of the pandemic, we have already seen many give so much, from themselves to their resources and more. Help us to continue to find ways we can love and give extravagantly to our neighbors. Amen.