With Lazarus reclining at the table and Martha serving—some things never change—Mary enters the room with a jar of expensive perfume and empties the entirety of its contents on Jesus’ feet, and then wipes his feet with her hair. It is such an intimate and beautiful expression of extravagant love! The fragrance of her affection filling the air and intoxicating all of the guests.
All except Judas, that is. He sees this incredible expression of love and affection, and instead of enjoying its beauty, he objects to it. He’s so focused on himself, and how everything affects him and his own little world, that he cannot celebrate. He can only criticize.
Sound familiar? It does to me. As much as I long to be like Mary in this story—or even being like Martha would be preferable—I often tend to be most like Judas. I see someone doing a beautiful thing and instead of being able to appreciate it and celebrate it, my insecurities rise up and get the best of me. I somehow see this beautiful expression of love as some kind of threat to my own worth and value, so I criticize. I compare. I jockey for position. I spin a story in my own head about what is really going on in the heart of the giver that makes me feel better about myself. Lord, have mercy.
I am so glad it is Holy Week. I am such a mess and in such desperate need of all that will happen this week, as well as the next. There is so still so much in me that needs to die. There is still so much in me that needs to be raised up to new life again. There’s still so much of me that needs to be nailed to the cross of Jesus and left there.
O Lord Jesus, please forgive me for being like Judas. By your power, your love, and your grace, please make me more like Mary, this day and every day. Amen.
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