True Justice: Monday of Holy Week 2016

The hosannas have fallen silent; the greenery on the road into Jerusalem is dusty and trampled; and Jesus himself has slipped away to Bethany. On Monday in Holy Week the Church puts before us two very challenging readings. There is the Song of the Servant (Isaiah 42. 1–7) with its constant refrain about the bringing of true justice, and John’s account of the dinner at Bethany, where Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with a jar of pure nard (John 12. 1–11). On the one hand there is joy and dedication in the fulfilment of a mission that brings freedom and wholeness to a world grown sick and disordered with sin; on the other there is that lyrical moment of reckless love which draws censure from Judas with his spurious concern for the poor.

We must find Jesus in both; we must be Jesus in both. Every Christian is called to work for the establishment of true justice in the world, for the restoration of that right order which alone enables us to live freely and joyfully. But we must also be ready to break the jar of nard over the feet of a Christ who so often comes among us in hidden form, and, harder still, accept the anointing given us by others. To be the Lord’s servant is to work and pray, for true justice is not established by action alone but by transformation in and through Christ, a transformation only prayer can bring about.

Note: the Solemnity of St Benedict is transferred to Low Week this year: 5 April.

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2 thoughts on “True Justice: Monday of Holy Week 2016”

  1. Thank you for this. A beautiful blog. Every time we see Mary in the Gospels, she is usually at Jesus’ feet. It also struck me that today’s readings seem to link up with yesterday’s second reading (Phil. 2: 6-11). Just as Mary, in that moment of extravagant love, emptied the whole jar of ointment on his feet, so Christ “emptied himself…humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. We see in Judas’ reaction that evil cannot bear this kind of love in action, and will do anything to destroy it. As you said yesterday, the “brutality of Holy Week” begins, “but he will not stumble, he will not falter”. Please God, we will all be given the grace to do the same when we are confronted with evil in our world.

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