Fr. Francis Scaria

Smiley face The Scripture (Jn 12:1-8) tells us that six days before the Passover when Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples in the upper, he made a visit to the home of Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Lazarus was probably the only brother of Martha and Mary who were, in all probability, unmarried at the time of the death of Lazarus. The two sisters were shattered at the death of their beloved brother. Naturally their joy knew no bounds when Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus. They now have an occasion to show their gratefulness to Jesus by serving him a dinner. On the other hand, Jesus was very close to the Cross. The approaching event of crucifixion brought great agony to Jesus. But he like a wounded healer overcomes his own agony and shares the joy of Lazarus and his sisters.

Mary feels that she has to do much more to show her sentiments of gratitude and love towards Jesus. She takes a pound of very expensive perfume and anoints the feet of Jesus with it. Perfume is used to give fragrance. The Scripture tells us that the whole house is filled with the fragrance. Evidently, everyone in the house enjoys the fragrance although it is primarily meant for Jesus. However there is one who cannot enjoy the fragrance of that expensive perfume poured out by Mary who is full of love and gratitude. He is none other than Judas who speaks instantly of ‘sale’ and ‘money’. Of course an icing is done with the ‘poor’. He says, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denari and the money given to the poor?” Evangelist immediately adds, “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it”. Before every instance of theft the thief calculates the possible gain.

It is a naked truth that a lot of people take the name of the poor for their own advantage and even steal in the name of the poor. Just as Jesus is alive in our present society, Judas too is found in flesh and blood, in our own neighbourhood if not in ourselves. It is not only politicians who make a mockery of the poor, but even among the so-called religious people across religions Judas can be identified. Their ‘common sense and mathematics’ make them vividly see huge sum of money and even hear the sound of counting cash. This is the proof of their love of money which according to St. Paul is the root of all evil (cf. 1 Tim 6:10). St. Paul also speaks about their destiny in the same verse. “... and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains”. 1 Tim6:9 says, “those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction”. How true this is in the case of Judas! Further, Prov 15:27 says, “Those who are greedy for unjust gain make trouble for their households, but those who hate bribes will live”. Mark 14:19 speaks about ‘deceitfulness of wealth’ that can choke the Word making it unfruitful within us.

In contrast to the three disciples who were sleeping in the garden of Gethsemane, here are three persons who are fully alert with Jesus and their kind gestures have indubitably comforted the troubled heart of Jesus who was approaching the cross. Those very same gestures cause discomfort to Judas. What comforts God discomforts the devil!

MUSINGS : 1-25, 26-50, 51-75

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