Holy Monday

Ossza Meg

Holy Monday
In the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere we pray for the sick
Memorial of the martyrs for the sake of the Gospel.


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 12,1-11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot -- one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him-said, 'Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?' He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contents. So Jesus said, 'Leave her alone; let her keep it for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.' Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Gospel of John begins the narration of the Passion of Jesus with a dinner in Bethany at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus - a family that was very dear to Jesus. In those days of his harsh struggles with the Pharisees and priests, this home had become a place of rest and repose. It was six days before the Passover, as it is for us now, and once again Jesus was having dinner with them. Lazarus, whom Jesus had recently brought back to life, was there too. At one point during the dinner Mary gets up, comes close to Jesus, and kneels at his feet, covering them with a precious ointment and then drying them with her hair. Her gesture can be a sign of affectionate gratitude for the gift of life to her brother. It is in any event a gesture full of gratuitousness. But Judas thinks differently. For him, this gesture so full of love is a useless waste. The evangelist notes that he said this not because the poor were of interest to him but rather money, that is his own advantage. Jesus responds immediately to Judas and says, "Leave her alone." Jesus wants Mary to continue her loving gesture: the ointment she uses foreshadows the oil that will be poured on his body before his burial and then he adds: "You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." Indeed shortly Jesus was about to begin his way of the cross, which would lead to his death. Mary was the only one who understood that Jesus was going to be put to death and therefore needed special affection and closeness. In that attitude that was so tender and full of love, made of simple and concrete gestures, is symbolized the way of salvation: being at the side of the poor, of the weak and the elderly, we are close to Jesus himself. This is the meaning of Jesus' saying: "You have always the poor with you." They could tell us how much need they have of the perfume of friendship and love. Blessed are we - and they - if we have Mary's same tenderness and audacity!