Monday of Holy Week
“Then she dried his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment’s fragrance”
As we continue to gaze upon the central figure of Jesus in this holy week, we come upon an ingredient in the link, which bonds desire for conversion: lavishness. For implicit in the baptismal grace – the grace of being chosen – is the lavish love which flows to us from out of Divine Love.
In today’s gospel, the room filled with the scent of perfume. It is a symbol of divine lavishness. It is present in a different way in the first reading where the Chosen One is the beloved Son. “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.” Note that before the mission, being sent, there is the inner bond of love uniting God the Father and God the Son.
If I desire conversion, it is because prior to that, God has desired me to come to Him and be loved. And so, another way to ask, ‘Do I desire to be converted?’ is ‘Do I desire to be loved?’
It’s interesting to note a phrase in the preface we use today: “This is the hour when he (Christ) triumphed over Satan’s pride….”
Satan did not want to be loved – he wanted to be God! He did not want to be a part of the lavish mystery of Trinitarian love; he wanted to be the center of it all. The tragic figure of Judas is another example: missed opportunity of being loved. For what? For the self! It’s really pride. It’s a terrifying thought, but we are capable of the same pride. Perhaps, as we move along in life, thinking rightfully of our sins with regret, we should remind ourselves of the real possibility: that God allows us our petty sins as a way of keeping us from the terrible sin of pride which will separate us from our heart’s deepest desire.
The gaze which should fix our hearts this week is a lavish love – a love so at variance with the petty desires and ambitions of the world and often, at variance with our own desires too. C.S. Lewis once told us: ‘We do not want too much we do not want enough!’
Reflection by Fr. Xavier Nacke, OSB