Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.–John 12:3 (NIV)
In Meeting Jesus in John, Brother Jonathan invited us to consider the demonstrative love of Jesus. Like Mary of Bethany who poured perfume on Jesus’s feet, God pours out love to us. Brother Jonathan says, “There’ve been many times where I felt completely unworthy of the love which brought me into being, saved me, and promises me, even now, eternal life. And yet, that is what the befriending of God in Jesus is about. It is about that extravagant love.”
Brother Jonathan invited us to ask for a renewed awareness of how God has demonstrated that extravagant love for us and “to turn in gratitude to the One who loved us first.”
I wrote down what came into my awareness.
I had planned to make a spinach, beet and goat cheese salad for a potluck then discovered someone else was bringing a similar salad. At first, I was disappointed that I had to change my plan, but as I was gathering salad ingredients at Costco I found one I enjoy that had all the fixings in it. It would take no time at all to prepare.
I went to Bible study on Day Two of my plan not to eat after supper, and someone brought really good chocolate. Wanting to get to Day Three gave me the courage to resist. Then a friend who works at a high-end pie shop brought in a pecan pie. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and I wanted a piece of pie, but I also wanted to say no. The man who brought the chocolate looked at the woman cutting the pie and said, “I’ll pass.” And there was my opportunity. I added, “Me too.”
One guest at the Wednesday Lunch Club regularly takes food to another who has been too sick to come. I like this fellow but find it difficult when he liberally shares his thoughts and jokes without considering whom he might offend. It really bothered me this week, and I mentioned it in an email to my colleague who oversees the ministry. Speaking up about this stuff can become a big deal and I felt discouraged thinking about it. In her email back, my colleague told me she’d already had a gentle word with this man, and he agreed to “rein it in.”
In the Daily Examen, James Martin SJ invites us to begin the prayer by recalling two or three things that happened that day for which we are grateful. “They don’t have to be big things. Just notice them and give thanks,” he says.
So here are my three things. They’re not big, but they do mean a lot to me because they demonstrate how intimately God knows and cares for me.
Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. –John 13:2
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Reflection questions for your Lenten pilgrimage:
- Ask the Holy Spirit for a renewed awareness of God’s love for you.
- How has God demonstrated that love?
- Express your gratitude to God.
- Ask for the grace to see opportunities to show God’s love to another.