Meditation: John 12:1-11

The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. (John 12:3)

Everyone was shocked that Mary would anoint Jesus’ feet with such costly oil. Everyone, that is, but Jesus. He saw it for what it was: a generous, prophetic gesture that was meant to give him glory.


Don’t we all wish we could respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as generously as Mary did? But what if the Holy Spirit is calling us to offer something else to Jesus like our time? Let’s consider the story of Sandra. Sandra was a dedicated, active Catholic mom. Her to-do list was endless, and she used every spare moment to cross off another item on that list.


Last Lent, Sandra attended a parish mission focusing on the theme “Pour Yourself Out on Jesus.” On the second night of the mission, Sandra realized that pouring herself out like this meant making Jesus the top priority in her life. In a flash of inspiration, she saw that she rarely included Jesus on her to do list. So, she decided to start every day by spending twenty minutes with him in prayer.


Every morning during Lent, Sandra read the Gospel stories about Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. And the results were amazing. She began to see how much Jesus loved her. She saw his mercy in a whole new light. And what she saw made her love him more and more.


Sandra’s prayer also began to change the way she approached her to-do list. Rather than immediately diving in and checking off item after item, she ended her prayer time by saying, “Lord, you know that I have a lot to get done today, but I don’t want my to-do list to keep me from honouring you.”


Sandra found it hard at first. But each time she put aside her plans so that she could help someone out, she felt a deep sense of accomplishment. She also discovered that she was usually able to take care of the most important items on her list.


Like the woman in today’s Gospel reading, Sandra learned that loving and serving Jesus was the most important thing she could ever do. Let’s imitate these two women by pouring ourselves out for the Lord.


“Jesus, thank you for giving your life for me. Help me to give my life back to you.”

Isaiah 42:1-7

Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14



As I come to pray today, I reflect on my mood. Maybe I am looking forward to this special time spent with the Lord, or perhaps I feel tired and depressed by the demands others make on me. However, I am, I ask the Lord to be with me throughout this week, and particularly today.


I slowly read the Gospel text, perhaps several times. It is so familiar, yet always new. There may be something here I haven’t noticed before. I stop and ponder. How is it affecting me? Perhaps I, too, have done something out of love that was criticised by those around me. I bring that to mind … and consider how I felt then … and how I feel now. Or it could be that I was the one doing the criticising. On reflection … with Jesus’s words in mind, would I behave differently now?


I turn to the Lord and tell him what is in my heart, why I acted as I did, trusting that he will understand. If I need to, I ask for his forgiveness. I may find I identify with the poor, in need of money to feed myself and my family. How does this text make me feel?


I imagine the disciples’ reaction as they hear Jesus mentioning his forthcoming death and burial. What do they say to him? What do I say? In time, I conclude my prayer with my own words of thanks for this time of conversation with the Lord.



‘O dear Lord, what can I say to you?

Is there any word that could come to my mouth?

Any thought, any sentence?

You died for me, you gave all for my sins,

you not only became man for me,

but also suffered the most cruel death for me.

Is there any response?

I wish that I could find a fitting response,

but in contemplating your Holy Passion and death

I can only confess humbly to you

that the immensity of your divine love

makes any response totally inadequate.’

‘Let me just stand and look at you.

Your body is broken, your head wounded,

your hands and feet are split open by nails,

your side is pierced.

Your dead body now rests in the arms of your Mother.

It’s all over now. It is finished.

It is fulfilled.

It is accomplished.’