Monday of Holy Week
“Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?”
Our society today constantly seeks to measure results or returns. We struggle to justify any activity if we cannot see measurable results. Having tangible results is not enough — we want them to be measurable. We need to put a value on customer satisfaction, we need to measure the rate of returns, we need to know what the specifications of most devices are. With this tendency of ours to measure and justify, how does one reconcile the sacrifices and offerings we give to God?
In today’s reading, Judas expressed his disappointment that an expensive ointment was used to wash Jesus’ feet. Even today, we echo the sentiments of Judas. Raise your hand if you’ve heard phrases like, ‘It’s such a waste that such a handsome, fine man has become a priest’; ‘She had a great career ahead of her, yet she chose to be a nun’; ‘This donation could have been given to the poor and yet it’s used to decorate the altar’; ‘You could spend this time to do work instead of praying’. In many ways, our attitudes are the same as Judas’. It’s as if there is something else of better use for our offering to God.
In the Old Testament, sacrifices to God were literally burnt. No one else could use it. I think it directly shows that there was no better use for that offering than for it to be offered to God. And here we are bent on finding ‘better’ use for all our sacrifices. Is there really something more worthy, or something that can have greater returns, than offering something to God? If we think about it, we are offering to someone infinite, and we are not even offering something from us, since everything we have comes from God. So, if we want to measure things, we have already received a lot more from God; more than we can ever give back. Before we could even offer anything to God, he has already given us more than we can ever pay back. So are we really on the losing end of this calculation? And since we are not on the losing end, I think this means that all the sacrifices we offer to God wholeheartedly have found their best use.
As human beings, it is difficult not to be subject to our tendencies to measure, and to look for what pays off the most. So let’s pray that when God knocks and asks us to give, we can pray for the grace to respond without hesitating, because the calculations do not seem to be ‘fair’, or we think that there could be better use for our sacrifices. Let this Holy Week remind us that God has already given us a lot more than he is asking of us. And that God is more than worthy of whatever sacrifice we can offer.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Lord, please grant me the grace to be generous.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, God, for being more generous than I am.
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