A Meal in Bethany

On the Monday of Holy Week John’s gospel (John 12,1-11) calls us to a meal honoring Jesus in Bethany following the resurrection of Lazarus. It’s the last meal mentioned in the gospels before the Passover supper. The gift of life that Jesus gives his friend leads to a sentence of death.

Faithful Martha serves the meal; Lazarus newly alive, is at the table. But the one drawing most of our attention is Mary, their sister who, sensing what’s coming, kneels before Jesus to anoint his feet with precious oil and dry them with her hair. “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

The precious oil is an effusive sign of her love and gratitude; it also anoints Jesus for his burial. Only in passing does the gospel mention that evil is in play here. Judas, “the one who would betray him,” complains that the anointing is a waste, but his voice is silenced. Believers are honoring the one they love.

How fitting that Holy Week begins with this gospel when, like Mary, we kneel and pour out the precious oil of our love upon him who pours out his precious life for us.

5 thoughts on “A Meal in Bethany

  1. Harry warren

    Hi Victor. As I usual I find your writing more rewarding then the full Gospel reading. Juda’s intent was not always mentioned. I am sorry it was added. However, a beautiful moment is remembered. Thank You. Harry


  2. John E Doderer

    What a gift of oil – Spirit & Joy – which when sparked will burn with light and warmth, and the power to halt deterioration (rusting); in this case including fragrance, to boot!


  3. Betty Anne Haering

    Of course I love the gospel, but I’ve not seen the picture before. Could you tell me who painted it? Thank you. And I also need to say I appreciate receiving your daily prayers, passages, etc. prayers for God’s continued blessings……Betty Anne


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