One Bread, One Body - Reflection for March 25, 2013


"Mary brought a pound of costly perfume made from genuine aromatic nard, with which she anointed Jesus' feet. Then she dried His feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment's fragrance." –John 12:3

Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus with very expensive perfume, worth a year's salary. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve apostles, objected to Mary's extravagance (Jn 12:4ff). Several other apostles "were infuriated at her" (Mk 14:5). Others were indignant at this "extravagant waste of perfume" (Mk 14:4).

In a parallel passage in Mark's Gospel, the text reveals that Mary broke the jar of expensive perfume just before she used it to anoint Jesus (Mk 14:3). This is a very important detail for Holy Week. Mary knew the apostles well, and possibly sensed that some would object to her total self-giving.

Breaking the jar might have been Mary's way of ensuring she could give all the perfume to Jesus. Once she broke the jar, the perfume could no longer be preserved for long-term use, and thus no one could stop her from giving all the perfume to Jesus. Elisha acted similarly when he slaughtered his oxen and burned his plow before following the prophet Elijah (1 Kgs 19:21). Once he "burned his bridges behind him," there was no turning back.

In breaking the jar, Mary foreshadowed Jesus' breaking of the bread in the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Jesus was broken for you and for all. Jesus gave every last drop of His blood on Calvary. Will you let Jesus break the strongholds of sin, pride, and fear in your life? Will you let yourself be broken for Jesus? Will you step out in love for Him, knowing there is no turning back?

PRAYER: Jesus, this is my life, to be given up for You.
PROMISE: "I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand." –Is 42:6
PRAISE: Elizabeth decided to accept Christ as Messiah even though she risked losing her family.

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Reprinted with permission from Presentation Ministries, a lay association of the Catholic Church that focuses on evangelization and discipleship through Bible teaching, daily Mass, the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and Small Christian Community. Their ministries include:

· One Bread, One Body
· Daily Bread Radio Program
· Annual Bible Institute
· Discipleship Retreats
· Guadalupe Bible College