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All Issues > Volume 29, Issue 2

<< Monday, March 25, 2013 >> Holy Week
Isaiah 42:1-7
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Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14 John 12:1-11
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"Mary brought a pound of costly perfume made from genuine aromatic nard, with which she anointed Jesus' feet. Then she dried His feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment's fragrance." —John 12:3

Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus with very expensive perfume, worth a year's salary. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve apostles, objected to Mary's extravagance (Jn 12:4ff). Several other apostles "were infuriated at her" (Mk 14:5). Others were indignant at this "extravagant waste of perfume" (Mk 14:4).

In a parallel passage in Mark's Gospel, the text reveals that Mary broke the jar of expensive perfume just before she used it to anoint Jesus (Mk 14:3). This is a very important detail for Holy Week. Mary knew the apostles well, and possibly sensed that some would object to her total self-giving.

Breaking the jar might have been Mary's way of ensuring she could give all the perfume to Jesus. Once she broke the jar, the perfume could no longer be preserved for long-term use, and thus no one could stop her from giving all the perfume to Jesus. Elisha acted similarly when he slaughtered his oxen and burned his plow before following the prophet Elijah (1 Kgs 19:21). Once he "burned his bridges behind him," there was no turning back.

In breaking the jar, Mary foreshadowed Jesus' breaking of the bread in the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Jesus was broken for you and for all. Jesus gave every last drop of His blood on Calvary. Will you let Jesus break the strongholds of sin, pride, and fear in your life? Will you let yourself be broken for Jesus? Will you step out in love for Him, knowing there is no turning back?

Prayer: Jesus, this is my life, to be given up for You.
Promise: "I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand." —Is 42:6
Praise: Elizabeth decided to accept Christ as Messiah even though she risked losing her family.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2013 through March 31, 2013.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 13, 2012.
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 29, Issue 2
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