4/6/2020 Lenten Luminaries

Posted on Apr 6, 2020 by
[Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
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.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.] (Jn. 12:1-11)

Six days before it all goes down, Jesus spends time at some of His friends’ house–Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.  We see Mary anointing Jesus in preparation for His death.  Then she dries His feet with her hair.  Jesus and Mary must have had an incredible friendship.  We’ve been told earlier in the Gospel of John of Jesus’s love for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (cf. Jn. 11:5).  He then proves His immense love for His friends on the cross as He gives up His life for them.  Now in a symbolic gesture Mary expresses her great love for Jesus.  She anoints His feet and even dries them with her hair.  Imagine how physically close she had to get to His feet in order to perform this humble act of love.
Whenever we have to make a big decision or there is a drastic change in our lives, we all desire to have our closest friends around us, to support us, to comfort us.  Before embarking on the final days of His earthly life, even Jesus, the Son of God, wanted to spend time with His good friends.  I’m sure Jesus was always thankful for the time He had with His friends, and especially before His passion, death, and resurrection.
Take some time today to thank God for your friends.  Thank God for the time that you got to spend with them before the quarantine as well as the various ways in which you deepen your friendship now.   Thank God for them and pray for them because they are God’s gift to you as Jesus’s friends were to Him (cf. Jn. 17:24a).