“The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

The first reading from the gospel during Holy Week (Jn 12:1-11) gives us Jesus visiting the home of His close friends, the siblings Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.  At dinner, Mary, anoints Jesus’ feet with a costly and sweet-smelling oil, wiping His feet off with her hair.  The smell pervaded the place (see above).  Judas complains that this was a waste and that the perfume could have been sold for a large amount with the money given to the poor (although John tells us of Judas’s ulterior motive to take a cut of the profits).  Jesus tells Judas not to bother Mary — she is preparing for His burial.  A large crowd comes to the house to see Jesus and Lazarus (because he was raised from the dead).  The religious leaders wish to kill both men since the people were believing in the former in larger and larger numbers because of the latter.  Mary’s action toward her revered guest affected the whole house and beyond.  Her expression of complete love and devotion to her Lord was evident to witnesses, but the results of it filled the place likely for hours afterward.  Undoubtedly her anointing of Jesus was a major topic of conversation — anyone in or near the residence would have commented on the cause of the strong but lovely smell emanating from the room in which Jesus reclined.  A lesson for us comes from this: Our devotion to the Lord should affect and be evident to all who enter our homes and all who encounter us.  The love of God and neighbor should emanate from us just so.  Just as the crowds immediately noticed something different about the house of Lazarus, so in our encounters we should evoke the sense in others that something different is happening with us.  That a supernatural love is palpable.  And that others are invited in to experience it, embrace it, and make it their own.

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