Monday of Holy Week

Monday of Holy Week

Readings: Is 42:1-7; Ps 27; J 12:1-11

We have started Holy Week, the last days leading us to the most important Christian mysteries. The readings of this week allow us to undesrtand better the significance of these days. In today’s Gospel we hear that Jesus, six days before Passover, came to Bethany where lived his friends – Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It was their last meeting. Jesus had a dinner with them. Martha served and Lazarus was reclining at table with him. But in this Gospel the most important and meaningful thing is Mary’s action: “Mary took a litre of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (John 12:3).

In ancient Israel anointing was a profoundly symbolic ritual act. Among thosewho were anointed in a special way, because of their role, were prophets, priests and kings. Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, these part of human body which are related to action. This is the beginning, a ritual initialization of what will happen in this Holy Week. Jesus himself announces these events saying that “this is for the day of his burial” (cf John 12:7), because according to Jewish tradition only the dead had their feet anointed. But this anointing is something more. It is a recognition in Jesus the Messiah. Jesus realized meaning and significance Mary’s gestures. Thinking about his death and burial, he appreciates her act of anointing him as an anticipation of this honour and dignity, which his body inseparably linked with the mystery of his person, will have even after death. In this Holy Week Jesus reveal himself not only as the Messiah, but also as Priest, Prophet and King.

Paweł Szylak OP