Local Homilies

April 6, 2020

Monday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 257

Reading 1 Is 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

R.    (1a)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our faults.

Gospel Jn 12:1-11

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.

Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14; John 12:1-11
From this question we will come to understand the worth of the oil that Mary was anointing at the feet of Jesus. Her action showed a great measure of love.
▪Ordinarily Jesus never encouraged waste anytime and anywhere. Today He allowed what Judas interpreted as waste of economy. The action of Mary elicited many reactions: for Judas it was a wasteful venture; for the Pharisees  it was scandalous allowing such a sinful woman to touch Him, (c.f. Luke 7:39). Only Jesus gave it a different interpretation – He saw an expression of love and contrition.
▪Our Lenten Season is coming to its end this week. Even though the coronavirus pandemic has altered everything we planned to do during this Lent, let us use this Holy Week to examine how far we have gone. Has there been a change of heart in us? Are we better than we were at the beginning of the Lenten Season? If so, then we are on a right track; if not, we still have a chance to do better.
▪Judas would have used this week to have a change of heart, but he kept seeing things the same way. I was discussing with a priest who told me that he was just planning to get married. In fact, he was almost there when he decided to go for the stations of the cross a time like this week, in his words, “I heard Jesus telling me that He needs me.” He told his fiancee the following day that Jesus wants him. We may see his decision from different positions, but only Jesus will give it a proper interpretation.
▪Just as Mary spent such a costly oil at the feet of Jesus, and used her hair, which is part of the beauty of a woman to wipe His feet, we are called this week to give up what is precious for us at the feet of Jesus. Whatever we do for the sake of God may be interpreted in many ways, but only God knows our hearts; and only Him knows the worth of what we have given up for His sake.
▪Dear friend, may we remember that God is still our light and salvation, therefore, let us not be afraid of anything; of giving up our time, energy, talent and other things in order to please Him. Now that we are all facing challenges, may we spend this oil at the feet of Jesus by thinking about the needy around us this week. May God bless us with a fruitful Holy Week. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
We all may not have costly oil like Mary, but we have costly things around us which we can give up for the sake of God. Our time, energy, talent and other things, are the oil with which we can anoint the feet of Jesus.
May God bless and protect you and your family from harm
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam

Blessed Sacrament Parish, Stowe and Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Morrisville, Vermont, USA