Monday of Holy Week, Apr 6th

Isaiah 42:1-7 / John 12:1-11 
Judas criticizes Mary: “Why was this oil not sold?”

William Barclay says of Judas’ reaction to Mary’s anointing of the feet of Jesus: “Judas had just seen an action of surpassing loveliness; and he called it extravagant waste. He was an embittered man who took an embittered view of things.” Judas’ reaction illustrates an important fact: “We see things not as they are, but as we are.” H. M. Tomlinson
If we are prejudiced against a person, that person can do nothing right in our eyes. If we are prejudiced in favor of a person, that person can do nothing wrong in our eyes. Judas was prejudiced against Mary.
To what extent do we tend to let our feelings and prejudices dictate our attitude and our actions toward people? “Mud thrown is ground lost.” Alta g. Shaw
Among the words, whether spoken or unspoken, that are laden with regret are these words: I should have ...We hear this being used in different ways and in different situations. For e.g. "I should have taken the opportunity to encourage that person", "I should have visited my parents more often when they were still alive", "I should have studied harder for my exams". The list of "I should have..." goes on and on. We ourselves would have said it before. Yet as much as those words might be laden with regret, still, regrets cannot reverse the situation or the consequence.

But in today's gospel, we see a woman who seized the opportunity to show Jesus an act of love. And Jesus also reciprocated by affirming her of her love and generosity.
As we enter into Holy Week, let us also seize the little moments of opportunities to show Jesus an act of love. It may be a dedicated time for prayer, or an act of service for a neighbour. Whatever it may be, it will be appreciated by Jesus.

It is still not too late to deepen our Lenten preparation. It might be late, but it is still better than to regret and keep saying "I should have ..."

Holy Week is for us the time when we meditate on the saving death of our Lord. The days of his suffering are approaching. The first reading gives us the first of the famous songs about the Servant of Yahweh. The liturgy of the Holy Week characterizes Jesus as the Servant of Yahweh. This first song speaks perhaps directly about the attitude and role of God's people, but we find these exemplified fully in Jesus, the perfect servant of God and of people. He is shown here to us as God's servant who came to serve the poor and the suffering by bringing them justice and freedom, and light in darkness to all; he will be the covenant of us, the people, by uniting us with God and one another. All this he did for us by his saving death.

Penitential Rite
-My chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my Spirit, LHM
-A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smouldering wick he shall not quench, CHM
-He has come to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, LHM

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, you have called your people to be the servant of one another in the cause of justice and mercy. You showed us in Jesus, your Son, what it means to serve and how much this may cost us. Fill us with the Spirit of Jesus, that we too may not break those who are weak nor repel those groping in the dark. Let him teach us to serve and to love with compassion for the helpless and respect for the least and the poorest, together with Jesus Christ our Lord.

The readings of Holy Week converge around the suffering and death of Christ. The Isaiah reading today is the first of four songs of the unidentified servant of the Lord, with the other three songs appearing in the course of the week. In the first song, the servant is introduced as a prophetic figure whose work will effect God’s will, not only in Israel but among the nations as well.
The character of the servant is described; he is mild mannered and not given to clamor or violence. The damaged stalk of a plant he will not break and the smoldering wick he will not extinguish. His work will be done in a peaceful fashion.
The Johannine story of Mary of Bethany anointing the feet of Jesus is a variant of an event recounted in the other Gospels as well. Unlike in the other accounts, here the woman is clearly identified. The anointing done with a precious ointment evokes Judas’s criticism. He sees it as a waste of money that might well have been used for the poor. Jesus sees through the ruse and commends the woman. Jesus sees it as an act of love done in anticipation of his death, which is now imminent.From the servant we learn the lesson of determination with a gentle expression. Conviction is often identified with an aggressive thrust; here it is evident that a gentler spirit can be equally effective.
Mary’s expression of love was not hindered by the fear of criticism. Extravagance in the cause of good can be praiseworthy. The enemies of Jesus are already planning to eliminate him. Yet his goodness is praiseworthy, especially, in this case, his restoring Lazarus to life. We should not be afraid to applaud the good, even if it be costly. Where Mary did not hesitate to act, we often walk in the opposite direction.

Points to Ponder
The servant’s peaceful witness
Mary’s expression of gratitude
The damage of harmful criticism

General Intercessions
Indifference and routine are perhaps more deadening and corrosive to the Christian life than calamities and acute sufferings, for we are often not aware of them.

Let us pray to our Father in heaven that we may struggle to regain our freedom which Christ bought for us with his life, and let us say: Lord, set your people free.
- For the Church, that, like the Lord Jesus Christ, it may shun positions of power to share the life and miseries of the faithful to lift them up to the joys and life of the risen Lord, we pray:
- For those who are resigned to a life of boredom and routine, that they may answer Christ's challenge to grow to his full maturity, we pray:
- For those who have handed over their inner freedom to publicity, social pressure and conformism, that they may dare again to be themselves and to take their lives into their own hands, we pray:
- For those who fight injustice and oppression, that they may not be moved by hatred, but that they may be driven by a genuine love and concern for their neighbor, we pray:
- For those who are afraid of death, that they may rely on Christ, who overcame death by the cross and turned it into a gift of life, we pray:

Lord our God, the loyal death of your Son made it possible for us to become free people and to discover joy in its fullness. Through his death and resurrection, may the pains and storms of life become instruments of the freedom, joy, and happiness promised us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, with your Son in our midst we your people ask of you today: Bring to us sinners the justice of your forgiving love and help us to establish true justice on earth, that we, the people of your lasting love, may never be a scandal to our neighbour but servants and signs of hope and joy. Let this be our offering to you through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, by the body and blood of your Son you call us to serve the cause of right. Breathe into us, your people, the Spirit of justice of your Son. Let him take us by the hand and make us with him the source of unity and light to the poor and the blind of our day, to the seekers of love and truth. Be with us, your people, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We know that these days of the Holy Week the Lord Jesus will lead us from death to life if we learn from him to love and serve one another and to live for one another, even at the cost of sacrificing ourselves. May God give you this courage and bless you: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.