[So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”] (Jn. 12:7-8)
Mary (sister of Martha and Lazarus) had just anointed Jesus’s feet with expensive oil, and had been rebuked by Judas Iscariot for waisting money uselessly on Jesus rather than helping the poor. At this point Jesus steps in and defends Mary’s action. First, Jesus draws attention to His death and burial. Then, Jesus challenges Judas to love Him (Jesus) above even works of charity.
In 1975 Vietnamese Cardinal, Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Saigon and was almost immediately arrested and thrown into prison by communist North Korea. He would go on to spend 13 years in prison with 9 of those years spent in solitary confinement. The thing that pained him the most while in prison was not the harsh treatment nor the brutal torture, but rather that he was unable to help the people of his Diocese in their need. When praying one day he was asked by Jesus if he (the Cardinal) loved God or the “works” of God. Who or what did he love more? Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan came to realize that though doing the “work” of God is important and should be done, loving God Himself is most important.
How about me?
Do I get so caught up in my work and activities that I overlook loving God? Is my family so busy that we do not even have quality time to spend together? Is Jesus the center of my life? Can I prove it by the time I give Him?
How can I better prepare myself and my family to celebrate the events of our salvation?