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Before we begin, let’s spend a few minutes preparing our hearts and minds for these events. When the Pope asked us to “Join forces uprooting the culture of death (the abuse and assault of children, altar boys, seminarians and women) he meant more than punishing perpetrators. It takes forgiving hearts to bring about change. Let us remember in our Lenten prayers to pray for all those involved in the “culture of death” spoken of by the Pope and the full recovery of their victims.
Note: This blog can be done in sections, focusing first on the introduction and the Mary of Bethany Imagery; then on the Imagery Exercises, which each can be done on a separate day.
The gospels read at Mass are assigned in a church calendar that rotates annually between the gospels of four of the apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This helps us see Jesus’ ministry from all their viewpoints. Each apostle has his own recollection of events based on his personal role in them and the length of time between the event and the apostle’s recording of it.
John’s gospel 12: 12-19 is recommended for Palm Sunday, called The Messiah Enters Jerusalem. Just above it in John 12:1-11, are the passages for Mary Anointing the Feet of Jesus at Bethany, which have been moved to the Monday after Palm Sunday, a day when few attend Mass. FutureChurch is committed to raising our awareness of seemingly small alterations in the original telling of these stories by the apostles. When few people have the opportunity to hear of Mary Anointing Jesus Feet, we lose sight of how respectful and accepting Jesus was of apostleship for both men and women.
Mary Anointing the Feet of Jesus at Bethany reminds us of the events to follow, from the betrayal by Judas to Jesus death. Her anointing his feet with expensive ointment is a ritual required for a Jewish burial, and Jesus admonition to Judas, “Let her keep it for my burial. You will have the poor with you always. You will not have me.” emphasizes Jesus awareness of the plot to murder him, which he does not hide from Mary. Mary represents goodness, truth and beauty: Judas, represents avarice, weakness and deception. But let’s remember how Jesus forgives Judas, knowing these very qualities engaged him in the fulfillment of the crucifixion and resurrection, a mission the Son of God accepted for our salvation. Sadly, Judas could not forgive himself and took his own life.
Mary Anoints Jesus Feet
“Six days before the Passover, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples–the man who was to betray him- said “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor. “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and helped himself to the contents. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial.” You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.” that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took branches of palm and went out to receive him, shouting ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he coming in the name of the Lord. The King of Israel.’ Jesus found a young donkey and mounted it–as scripture says “Do not be afraid daughters of Zion. Look, your king is approaching, riding on the foal of a donkey.
“At first the disciples did not understand this, but later, after Jesus had been glorified, they remembered that this had been written about him and that this was what had happened to him. The crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead kept bearing witness to it. This was another reason why the crowd came out to receive him: they had heard that he had given this sign. Then the Pharisees said to one another, ‘You see, you are making no progress; look, the whole world has gone after him.”
(If you’re new to doing Imagery, the breathing is very important. When the instruction says “Close your eyes and Breathe out one time (or more if indicated) you are to breathe out slowly and gently through your lips. Your eyes remain closed until you hear the instruction to open them.
Narrative for Mary Anoints Jesus Feet at Bethany, Exercise 1
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel, sense and know how it is to anoint the feet of Jesus with precious ointment and dry them with your hair. Breathe out one time and open your eyes.
Click below to hear the Imagery Mary Anoints Jesus Feet at Bethany, Ex 1
Narrative for Mary Anoints Jesus Feet At Bethany, Ex 2
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel, sense and know how it is to hear from Jesus “Let her keep the ointment for the day of my burial.” Breathe out one time and open your eyes.
Click below to hear the Imagery Exercise Mary Anoints Jesus Feet At Bethany, Ex 2
Click below to hear The Messiah Enters Jerusalem, which is presented as an Imagery Exercise. Close your eyes, sit quietly and listen to the narrative on the audio below. Contemplate what it means for you. You’ll hear a beep after a short time to remind you to open your eyes.
Narrative: Jesus Foretells His Death And Glorification (John 12:20-36)
“Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. In all truth I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain, but if it dies it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
“Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this house. Father glorify your name.’ A voice came from heaven. ‘I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.’ The crowd standing by who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said it was an angel speaking to him. Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that the voice came, but for yours.
‘Now sentence is being passed on the world, now the prince of the world is to be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself.’ By these words, he indicated the kind of death he would die. The crowd answered. ‘The Law has taught us that the Christ will remain for ever. So how can you say, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?’ Jesus then said. ‘The light will be with you only a little longer now. Go on your way while you have the light or darkness will overtake you and nobody who walks in the dark knows where he is going. While you still have the light, believe in the light so you may become children of the light.’
“Having said this, Jesus left them and was hidden from their sight.”
Click below to hear the Imagery Exercise, Jesus Foretells His Death and Glorification
Have a blessed Palm Sunday, Barbarah
P.S. Visit FutureChurch at <www.futurechurch.ord.>