In the early church, the week we are about to celebrate was known as the “Great Week.” It was in the fourth century that St. Athanasius began to use the term “Holy Week” to recognize the significance of what we celebrate. As we walk through this week we are invited to stand in awe of the greatest act of love and self-giving our world has ever known. But standing in awe in not enough. We are called to action, to imitation, to acts of love and self-giving.
In the gospel scene today we are presented with Mary washing the feet of Jesus and anointing them with precious oil. It is an intensely personal act of faith and love. We can only imagine what a sense of comfort and encouragement this must have been to Jesus as he prepared to pour out his life in self-giving love. Mary’s act is a compelling example of discipleship—of perceiving a need and responding to it. And in the face of the criticism she received we are given an example of the cost of discipleship.
Each of us has been called and grasped by the hand and set as a light to the nations: to open the eyes of the blind, to bring prisoners out of confinement, and free those who live in darkness. We are disciples called to bring Christ’s act of self-giving love to others through our own self-giving acts of love. In the words of St. Peter Julian Eymard, “could anything be more appropriate than to give oneself to the One who has given us everything!”
What acts of self-giving love am I being asked to share with others to help them experience God’s love in their lives? Into whose life am I being called to bring the oil of comfort this week?
Let us pray:
Lord, grasp me by the hand and walk with me this week as I contemplate the great gift of love you have given to all. Enable me to move beyond the blindness of my selfishness that I may see you suffering in those around me and be moved to anoint them with compassion and love. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)