Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday in Holy Week
The Roman Breviary
The reading of the holy Gospel according to John
Lesson i: c.12,1-9
Six days before the Pasch Jesus came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of a great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always. A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came, not for Jesus's sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

Homily Of St. Augustine, Bishop
Treatise 50 on John
Lest men should think that he had risen from the dead, Lazarus was one of them who reclined at table. He lived, he spoke, he feasted; the truth was made manifest, and the disbelief of the Jews brought to confusion. Jesus, then, sat down to table with Lazarus and the rest; Martha, one of the sisters of Lazarus, served. But Mary, the other sister of Lazarus, took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. We have heard what was done: let us seek out the mystery.
R. The ungodly said: Let us oppress the just man without cause, and swallow him up alive as the grave: let us make his memory to perish from the earth: and let us cast lots for his spoils: and these murderers laid up stores for themselves of evil. Fools and evil men hate wisdom: and are guilty in their thoughts.
V. Such things they imagined, and were deceived: and their wickedness blinded them.

Lesson ii
Whosoever thou art , if a faithful soul, thou wouldst anoint with Mary the feet of the Lord with precious ointment. That ointment signified justice, and therefore it was of the weight of a libra [pound; balance]. It was moreover ointment of right spikenard, of a great price. That it is called pisticium, we might understand as referring to some place from which this costly ointment came. But this does not exhaust its possible meanings, and it harmonizes well with a sacramental symbol. The Greek pistis is called in Latin fides (faith). Thou wast seeking to work justice. The just man liveth by faith. Anoint the feet of Jesus; by a good life, follow the footsteps of the Lord. Wipe them with thy hair: what thou hast in superfluity, give to the poor, and thou hast wiped the feet of the Lord: for the hair of the body seems to be a superfluity. Here is something for thee to do with thy superfluous goods: they are superfluous to thee, but necessary to the feet of the Lord, upon earth suffer want.
R.I am become a reproach unto mine enemies; they saw me, and shook their heads: Help me, O Lord my God.
V. They have spoken against me with deceitful tongues, and have compassed me about with words of hatred.

Lesson iii
For of whom, if not of his members, will it be said at the last: As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it unto me? You spent your superfluous riches: but you rendered a service to my feet. And the house was filled with the odour signifies good fame. Those who live evil lives, and are called Christians, do not injury to Christ: of such it is said, that through them the name of the Lord is blasphemed. If through such as these the name of God is blasphemed, through good man the name of the Lord is praised. Listen to the Apostle: We are the good odour of Christ, he says, in every place.
R. Unjust and merciless men have risen up against me, and have sought to kill me: neither spared they to spit in my face, their spears have wounded me: and all my bones are out of joint: But as for me, I counted myself as one that was dead upon the earth.
V. They poured forth their fury upon me, and they gnashed their teeth at me.