Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27; John 12:1-11
The words of the First reading show us who Jesus is: he is God’s servant, whom God upholds, God’s chosen, and in whom God’s soul delights. Towards the end of the First Reading also, God tells his servant: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you. Yet, in a few days from now, Jesus will be crucified and will die.
Jesus knows he will die in a few days which is why he told Judas to let Mary alone when she poured out an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. Just to give an idea of how expensive that is, one denarius is a day’s wage. Putting this in today’s terms, a day’s wage, assuming $15/hr times 8 hrs/day for 300 days will give $36,000. Mary poured out perfume costing $36,000 in modern terms. This is why Judas felt bad about it.
The question is: Why would God allow his faithful servant whom his soul delights, his servant whom he gives as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, who opened the eyes of the blind, freed prisoners, give light to those in darkness, to be killed? It is not that God does not have the power to stop evil. The First Reading tells us he gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it. He could just withdraw breath from the people and Jesus would not have to die.
God HAS the power to stop evil, but he does not, because he brings out something infinitely better than what the evil has destroyed. In this case, the death of Jesus leads to his resurrection, which fulfills God’s plan of redeeming us from our sins, and giving us power to be his adopted children.
The Responsorial Psalm sums this up: the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? God defends us and protects us. Even when Jesus was suffering and dying on the Cross, God is saving him and protecting him. How you say? By dying, Jesus rose from the dead and through his death, he destroyed death because he will not die again!
Which is why, when we are in the midst of uncertainties, of darkness or despair, when we trust Jesus, we have confidence to say, even to boast, whom shall I fear, of whom shall I be afraid. Jesus defeats all our enemies. Even when we are surrounded by our enemies, we will not be afraid because we believe we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The psalm ends Wait for the Lord: Be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.
This is very applicable to our situation today. Around us is this virus that can destroy us. It assaults us, unseen. As we take prudent steps to prevent this virus from infecting us and our loved one, we must remember, our safety is not in our actions. But our safety is in the Lord. For those who are affected by this situation, we remind ourselves, that when we turn to the Lord, we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. God will deliver us from our situation, whatever it may be. Wait for the Lord: be strong, let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Do not be afraid. Call on the Lord and he will hear your prayer.
Lord, when things seem dark, when you seem to be absent in my life, in my situation, remind me that you are here with me always and you will never abandon me.