The Bible tells us that after Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, he did not stay there. He, in fact, went out of the city again and stayed in the house of his friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Our Gospel this holy Monday focuses on this family of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. A little background on the family. We remember that Jesus brought back to life Lazarus who has been dead for some days already, so this is still fresh in the memory of the people. Lazarus being brought back to life. So they were all very interested to see who it was, who performed this miracle for Lazarus.
Her Sins Are Forgiven, For She Loved Much | Oil Painting by Roger Cushing (1943)
The setting of holy Monday is the house of Bethany. They were having dinner. Martha prepared a sumptuous meal for their friend, for their guests, Jesus and the disciples. And traditionally, Bethany is the place where Jesus would come to find some rest. And he considers Lazarus, Martha, and Mary as his friends. And so while at dinner, Mary took a liter of costly perfume - perfume oil - and poured it on the feet of Jesus and dried the feet of Jesus with her hair. What beautiful gesture of love, of affection for their beloved Jesus. Anointing the feet of Jesus with costly oil.
But Judas had something else in mind. He said, "Why are we wasting money? Why are we wasting such costly oil? We should give them to the poor." At least that's how he wanted to explain himself. We know for a - of course - for a fact that Judas was just justifying his own selfishness, his own greed, because as the Bible tells us, he was actually taking money because he was the treasurer of the group of the disciples. He was actually taking money for himself. He did not appreciate the gesture of Mary, of wasting costly oil and perfume for Jesus.
Let us not grow tired of generosity and giving. Many times, we are like Judas. We are justifying our selfishness. We often project an aura of generosity to people. It's as if we are really a giving person when in fact, we are just plain selfish. But those who are truly generous, those who are truly giving people, they never count the cost, they never make an accounting of what they give. They just give and give. Hindi sila nagbibilang. Bigay lang sila nang bigay. Maybe for some people, it is not a very good attitude, but for Mary, she did not care. It was her friend, Jesus. He was very tired of a long journey. He needed some rest. And so, Mary did what she would be able to do for her friend, Jesus. Maybe it was Martha who cooked again. Who knows? And Mary, it was what she could give to the Lord with so much abundance. If we may say, up to extravagance, but this only shows the attitude of Mary, the attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude leads to giving. If you are grateful, and if you acknowledge that you have been blessed, you will never be selfish. Gratitude leads to generosity. The challenge of holy Monday: Let us not grow tired of giving; let us not grow tired of being generous to one another. Nowadays, people are in need. Napakarami pong mga nangangailangan sa paligid natin. Not necessarily material wealth or material things. Many people are deprived of love, of affection. Many people are lonely and tired. Many people are looking for something, for someone to help them.
Be generous with your time. If somebody needs time, if someone needs a listening ear, be generous of yourself. Huwag magbilang. Husbands and wives, minsan nagsusumbatan tayo in the home, in the family. Nagsusumbatan tayo, nagbibilangan tayo. “Ilang kilo binigay mo? Magkano binigay mo?” We often put a number, a numerical value to what we give. Of course, for the sake of accounting and reporting, yeah, we do that. We acknowledge the donors, the benefactors. Yes, How much they have given, How much they have shared. This is important for accountability and transparency, but beyond that we don't count. Hindi tayo nagbibilang at hindi rin tayo nagbibilangan. As much as possible, in our giving, in our generosity, we just pour it on and on and on like Mary. She did not care. Not because she did not care about the cause, but because she cared so much that she did not care at all how much.
We need to learn from the family of Martha, of Mary and Lazarus. When Lazarus died, the sisters were disappointed with Jesus. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother, our brother would not have died.” They told Jesus that. Meron din silang kaunting tampo. But it did not, it did not make them bitter. Hindi yun naging dahilan para magtampo sila kay Hesus. They welcomed him. They gave him a home. They gave him shelter in his last days. Malapit na ang oras ni Hesus bago siya pumunta sa Jerusalem ulit. He goes back to the home of his friends.
We all need some friends. In one way or another, at one point of our life, it is good to have friends who will be with you, who will stand by you, who will not count the cost for you. Let us not grow tired of giving. Let us not grow tired of being generous or being kind to one another.
Transcribed by Kovie Kraft