Holyrood Church 715 West 179 Street, Upper West side Manhattan, USA, 212-923-3770

Holy Monday

Good morning, happy Holy Monday and blessings. In today's Gospel in Saint John (12: 1-11) Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, makes a complaint to Jesus: "Why has this perfume not been sold for three hundred denarii to give to poor people?"  This is definitely a very valid concern, although we do not know exactly how much sincerity there is in Judas's heart when he presents his complaint and in the rest of the disciples with his complicit silence. Now, what happened in this story? In Jewish culture, when a visitor came to a house and was invited to eat, the duty of the host was to ensure that the feet of the visitor were washed. This is what Mary did when Jesus went to visit her, Martha and Lazarus. The truth is that the attitude of Mary in this passage of the Gospel according to Saint John is an attitude of humility and humiliation. She knew who Jesus was. Both she and Martha were sure that they had Christ the Son of God before them. This sister named Mary only took the best and most expensive perfume she could find and caressed (anointed) Jesus' feet, wiping them with her hair. And for now, the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. The house was filled with the gesture, the closeness without words, the most disinterested love: the one we give when we give ourselves. When we give without gaining anything from it. Pure disproportion. Pure waste. Pure gratuitousness. We just want to comfort, hold, calm, care. And that, surely, will irritate many people: some will hold you accountable, like Judas, because there are always greater urgencies and needs that demand us. But Mary chooses and prefers to caress the heart of Jesus, of her friend who is going through a difficult moment. His friend who is also the Lord of her life.
When we think of this gospel, we tend to focus on what Mary does and how much Judas's perfume or critical reaction cost her. But here we really see what Jesus does for Mary. Jesus' love makes Mary a disciple. Jesus lifts her up, even above all other people, as high as John if not more! This really shouldn't surprise us. We know that Jesus constantly raised the humble, the marginalized, the rejected, the poor ... because theirs is the domain of God. And now Mary is a preacher. Mary, the least in his world, is now the first of the disciples. Mary preaches, testifies in the light of the One among us, at this table, whom we do not recognize. Sometimes it is a dilemma to choose between right and just, but many times it depends on the intentions of the heart. Judas's intention seemed good, but behind it was an evil idea. Hopefully we remember this woman all Holy Week. Above all, when we have to choose between doing something important, expensive, visible, or practical, or having a moment of simple closeness with Jesus, our friend and our Lord. Everything else is not bad (religious practices, rites, sacrifices, offerings, prayers, vigils ...) but there are times when it is worth choosing a perfume and spilling it with someone. And if this is true for Jesus, why not also live it with other brothers and sisters? And remember, hugs and kisses will come back.  You don't lose faith.

Fr. Luis +

Date news: 
Monday, April 6, 2020 - 20:45

Ministry at the time of Coronavirus (Covid 19): Prevent, cure and accompany

Now we have to shape what some have started calling; The Church at Home. Although I keep asking myself; What do those who do not have a home do? For this reason, at the same time, I am declaring today in our Holyrood Church a Lenten day of prayer, fasting and reading the Bible in the Time of the Coronavirus.

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