Today’s reading launches the start of what I call “The Longest Week of History.” In consolidating the records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I have endeavored to match the events and conversations with their place in the itinerary of Jesus and His disciples as they move together toward the Passover events. You will note that some days (like today) are relatively short readings. Other days may take a bit more time but, considering the subject matter, will be well worth the effort.
March 28, Saturday
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany. Many Jews also came from far and wide. Although they came partly to see Jesus, they were even more curious to see with their own eyes this man Lazarus who had been raised from the dead not too many weeks earlier. Realizing that this recent miracle had caused even more Jews to believe in Jesus, the chief priests conspired to kill Lazarus as well.
Jesus attended a supper at the home of Simon the leper. Lazarus was there with them, and Martha helped serve the meal.
Mary came in with a flask of fragrant oil of nard. She broke open the container, poured some on Jesus’ head and feet, and then wiped His feet with her hair in an act of humble devotion. The whole house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
When His disciples saw this, some of them were indignant and rebuked her. Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, said, “What a waste! We could have sold that for thousands of dollars and given it to the poor!” At that point no one knew that Judas’ motives weren’t out of concern for the poor but as treasurer for the group he’d been siphoning funds for his own use.
Hearing the commotion, Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Leave her alone! She’s done the right thing. There will always be poor to take care of, but you won’t always have Me around. She unknowingly has pre-anointed my body for burial, and this sacrificial act of devotion will be included in the telling of the Message as it goes around the world.”