Daily Mass Reflections
Holy Week (Year A)
Introduction to the Mass
In the first reading today from the prophet Isaiah, we have the prophecy of how God will send His messenger to us to bring peace into the world. The one God will send, will heal the brokenness of our world.
We see this prophecy fulfilled this week in the actions of Jesus. It is only by His death on the cross, that our brokenness can be restored. And so today, Mary anoints the Body of Jesus in preparation for His burial.
For the times we have added to the brokenness of this world and our lives, we first ask for Gods loving mercy and forgiveness.
Reflection on the Readings
When Mary anointed Jesus, it was indeed an extravagant gesture. Judas, shrew and calculating, estimated that this expensive perfume could have been sold for 300 denarii, perhaps ten months wages at the time. He seems to think the oil is wasted on Jesus; it could go to serve the poor. No doubt, what Judas had in mind, is that he could pocket the money himself. Whatever his motives, Judas is thinking with cold, hard logic.
However, Jesus sees in this act of Mary’s, a beautiful act and sign of love. Love does not always correspond with cold logic. In our religious life, in our life of faith, there is room for gestures that come from the heart, rather than just the head.
It is true that the precious oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor. But Jesus, who took second place to no one in caring for the poor, graciously accepted Mary’s extravagant gesture.
There is an important lesson in what happens in the Gospel today for us as a Church, as a parish and as Christians.
Looking after the poor is a profoundly important principle in the Christian life, if we neglect this we are failing as Christians. But equally important is our worship and love of Jesus. Let us not be like Judas, in thinking that our worship and love of Jesus, may take away from our care of the poor. Judas was a hypocrite who really had no time for Jesus; his actions this week bear this out.
As Christians, we must always look after the poor. But equally, we must make time and give a place for worship and respect for the person of Jesus. He is the Son of God, He is the one we will accompany this week on His journey to the Cross. But also He is the one who will accompany us on our journey to eternal life.
The Passion Gospel for Palm Sunday, I think speaks very much for itself. There is nothing we can say, which can add to what we have already heard, in the reading of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Just one thing that I would like to say is that today we begin the sacred time of Holy Week. This week gives us the chance to really live and experience in prayer what Jesus the Son of God was prepared to go through for the sake of each one of us.
Although we cannot be in church together, we can still make this a truly Holy Week.
And so on Holy Thursday, let us reflect as gather with Jesus in the Upper Room to re-enact the Last Supper.
Then on Good Friday we will be with Jesus as He faces the cross, and gives His life for the sake of the whole world.
Then on Holy Saturday we will be waiting by the tomb of Jesus to witness and celebrate His resurrection from the dead.
Let us pray that we will enter into this Holy Week in any way we can, and follow in the footsteps of our Lord in the events that lead to our promise and inheritance of eternal life.
Let us all try to make this a truly Holy Week.