Arch-Bishop Banda’s Homily, Monday, Holy Week

During this Holy Week we will ponder and reflect on the final journey of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Most of the people Jesus encountered on His final journey were hostile. Yet, in today’s gospel, exactly six days before the Passover during which Jesus was to be crucified,
He experiences great kindness.

He was a guest at the family of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Mary went to great expense to render Jesus a thoughtful service. She bathed His feet, anointed them with very expensive perfume and dried them with her hair. In all this gesture she cared less about the opinions of the other guests as she bathed the feet of the Lord.

Mary went to this great extent presumably as an act of gratitude to Jesus, not only for the raising of her brother Lazarus from the dead but also for her love for Jesus as a man of
God; the great preacher of truth; the compassionate healer of many and including herself. For this reason, she honoured Him immensely by anointing His feet with perfumed oil, to which Judas so strongly objected. However, rising to her defence, Jesus interprets her action as prophetic – as anointing for His burial.

Mary’s impulsive act of loving generosity provides us an important lesson, namely attachment (love). Her attachment to the Lord made her become indifferent to the opinions of others. She did what she thought was the best for the Lord no matter what other people thought. Her action became prophetic – as anointing for His burial.

Her attachment triggered the generosity of heart and service. People, who give (be it their time, treasure or talents), do it not because they have in excess, but because they love. Love makes the seemingly impossible possible. Love brings us away from the limits of
individuality into communion with the other – without reserve; in the same measure God has blessed us. Mary’s attachment signifies her turning point. Our attachment to the Lord
awakens in us a new sense of living before God and neighbour.

The closer we come to Him, the more we become aware of our own unworthiness, our shortcomings and sins; our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. May our attachment to the Lord especially during this Holy Week lead us to: Love the Lord above all things; be exceedingly generous with our time, treasures and talents; and to be exceptionally at service to God and neighbour. May our attachment (our love) for the Lord become our turning point to repent and convert.

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