Eucharistic Readings for the 5th Sunday of Lent: Year C
Isaiah 43:16 to 21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b to 14; John 12:1-8:
“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (John 12: 5)
This reading from John about Mary is like the one in Luke about Martha and Mary. Judas’s intention is explained to us by the evangelist. The evangelist informs us that Judas is not concerned about the poor. He writes that Judas kept the common purse and would steal from it. How the Evangelist knew this opens up another discussion. He may have even taken his eyes off Jesus for a moment. It is easy to pick on Judas because in all of the Gospel stories Judas is identified as the traitor who sold out Jesus.
But in this particular setting, in the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, we have Judas who took his eyes off Jesus for a moment to look upon Mary and what she was doing for Jesus. And when he did this he had nothing good to say about her. He was critical of her use of money. Judas failed to look at Mary through the heart and eyes of Jesus.
This Gospel story is like the ending of chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel account where Martha takes her eyes off Jesus and looks at her sister Mary and becomes angry because Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus and not helping with the preparations for serving Jesus and the guests that are with him. She says to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me” (Luke 10:40). Of course Jesus tells her that Mary is making the best use of her time.
Both of these reflections took place in the same house in Bethany. They are witnessed from two different perspectives. But both are examples of what happens when we look upon another person without seeing them through Jesus. The heart and eyes of Jesus softens our hard edges and brings our compassion to the forefront of our awareness. We must always recognize Jesus in the room and see the others in the room through Jesus. That’s why we have Jesus – so that we might love one another better.
As this earth is a single room in which we all live, I pray that we see the dispute between Russia and Ukraine as Jesus sees them; with compassion and mercy for both. Perhaps Russia is not looking at Ukraine through the eyes of Jesus. Please pray for both in this horrible mess.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John