Monday, March 21, 2016

Justice on Earth

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.  Isaiah 42:1-3

Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. John 12:4-6

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13

We encounter Mary and Martha many times in the Good News.  In addition to the two stories in John’s Gospel, there is the story related only in Luke when Jesus visits them and Martha is doing all the serving.  When Martha complains, Jesus says, “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:42)

How happy Mary must have been when Jesus visits her today.  Her brother was dead and Jesus brought him back from the dead.  So Mary has chosen the better way again today when she anoints the feet of Jesus.   Yet, her actions are not met with universal acceptance.  This time, it is Judas, not Martha, who complains to the Lord about what Mary is doing.

However, we should not forget that burying the dead is counted among the corporal works of mercy.  “[Mary] has anticipated anointing my body for burial.” (Mark 14:8B) It might have been more acceptable to sell the perfume to get money to feed the poor.  Just as if it might have been more acceptable on Palm Sunday for Jesus to rebuke those who called him King. 

However, if we have learned anything in the five weeks of Lent, it might include that the Good News is not about doing what is popular or going along with the crowd.

How will you show your counter-cultural love of the Lord in the land of the living? What is the most unpopular thing you have ever done to serve the Lord?

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