Most of us know that the price of Jesus’ betrayal was thirty pieces of silver. But did you ever consider what precipitated this unspeakable tragedy? Perfume, albeit expensive perfume. You remember don’t you:
Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (John 12: 3-5)
At first glance, Judas seems to have a heart for the poor. But Sacred Scripture makes it very clear in verse 6 stating,
This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it.
This certainly is a warning for us to beware of the world’s trappings but I would like to suggest another thought for our consideration and meditation.
It is often suggested that our Lord’s preferential option for the poor means that He deserves the least because there is someone who could better use the resources. And, this is true – at least materially. Except, whatever happened with building churches that assisted in revealing the majesty and splendor of His Kingship and love? It seems to me that Our Lord told us that we will always have the poor (John 12:8) and in a world that has lost it’s sense of wonder, well, you know. It has also been my experience that this gutting of the sublime is not reserved to our material possessions but also with our spiritual efforts.
For myself, just a cursory reflection makes it painfully clear that I am no better than anyone else. For example, I leave my prayer for the end of the day when I have expended the days energy. I offer God my leftovers and not the first fruits of the day. Everyone else gets my best and my Lord gets the dregs.
Monday’s and today’s gospels are a painful reminder that I am just as willing to sell out my Savior for a day’s wage or even worse, the hope that people are impressed with my work product. Thirty pieces of silver is the price of a slave and for some reason I always want to put my shackles back on.
Tomorrow He gives me the strength for the Triduum journey – enough to sustain me to receive His forgiveness on Friday. Tomorrow I join my Bishop, his priests and my brother deacons at the cathedral. We will renew our commitment to the Church and liturgically enter into battle with our Lord for His bride. The Chrism Mass will stir into flame the graces of our ordination, feed us the bread of sorrow and the drink of compunction and then send us to our respective parishes in order to lead the people of God to the resurrection through Calvary.
Will you join me to redouble our efforts to make the best of this Triddum?
Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:7-8)