As we continue our Holy Week Journey, we find Jesus in Bethany with his dear friends, Lazarus, Martha and Mary. (John 12: 1-9)
The cenacle where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples is very near the temple. From there, one simply crosses through the Kidron valley and up the hill to enter the Mount of Olives. And from there, it is a simple stroll up and over that hill and down again to Bethany. All of these sites lie within very close proximity to each other.
This final visit of Jesus to Bethany happened just six days before the Passover. Does this not suggest that perhaps Jesus visited his friends to share with them what lies ahead? This is a beautiful portrayal of his humanity, in that he wants to be with his friends prior to his passion, not only to prepare them for what lies ahead, but also to receive their loving consolation and support.
It would seem that Mary’s anointing of Jesus is a recognition of her knowledge of the approaching passion of Jesus. This is a great portrait for us as we enter Holy Week. We want to spend time with Jesus, to accompany him as he prepares to lay down his life for our salvation. We want to give him our consolation and express our appreciation, in the same manner that we care for any of our loved ones as they prepare for death in the final days of a terminal illness.
At the same time, we also receive from Jesus his presence and consolation in the moments of our own suffering, just as he received comfort from Martha, Mary and Lazarus. In short, these holy days are a great opportunity for us to be with Jesus in friendship, as well as to adore him as members of the Church.
May the friendship of Mary, Lazarus and Martha remind us of the demands and joys of our friendship with Jesus. May Mary’s anointing of Jesus depict for us where and how we are to remain with Jesus in the coming days.