The fragrance of spiritual love
On the Monday of this Holy Week, the Liturgy brought to our reflection the Gospel narrative of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus (Jn 12 1-11). Experiencing the forgiving love of the Lord, ‘the woman caught in adultery’ (Jn 8.1-11), whose love and gratitude now doubled as He raised her dead brother to life (Jn 11. 38-44), she knew no bounds how to respond to the love of Jesus whom she accepted now as the Lord and Master of her life. As an expression of her deep, and as an act of adoration and worship she anoints the feet of the Lord with the costly oil.
“The house was filled with the fragrance of love.” (Jn 12.3) In a way, this is symbolic of what St.Paul tells in 2 Cor 2.14,15. “Thanks be to God, who in Christ,…and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ…” We claim to ‘know Christ’; but do we in turn, like Mary become the aroma of Christ spreading the fragrance of love, holiness, adoration and worship?
How often we have experienced this love, mercy and forgiveness of the Lord in our lives? Do we have the response of deep love and gratitude which Mary had? She was ready to use her beautiful hair to wipe the feet of Jesus, because for her, now the Lord is much more precious for her. The Lord was for her, now costlier than the perfume. Do I have this ‘paradigm shift’ of priorities of my life after my confession where I experience the merciful, forgiving love of the Lord?
Am I ready to give up things that hinder my coming closer to the Lord? My undue attachments…. spending more time with TV, Internet…indulging in sinful pleasures…
Am I ready to ‘get rid of my anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive language’? (Col 3.8)
In another occasion Jesus tells: “Many things are forgiven her because she has loved much”. Isn’t it a soothing statement? No matter how grave sins we have committed in the past, all that He looks at is our present day. Today, if I love Him much, many of my past sins will be forgiven, and forgotten by the Lord (Heb 8.12). Let us be reminded of what Jesus has said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14.15).
Lord Jesus, I thank you for your death on the Cross and for enabling me to experience your forgiveness and Sacramental Grace by which I can appropriate what you have accomplished for me on the Cross. Now on, I want to sing your praises and proclaim your mighty acts, for you have lifted me up from darkness and placed me in your kingdom of light. May I cooperate with your grace so that I may continue to live in this light forever.”
‘Return to the Lord, your God’ Joel (2.12)
We are celebrating the Holy Week of Lent. Lenten Season is a season of Grace indeed, for our Mother Church exhorts us to repent for our sins and be converted to the Lord, to do reparation for our sins through fasting, prayer and almsgiving in order to rededicate our lives to our God living His Word. St.Bernard used to say each morning: “This day I will begin to serve my God anew”.
Yes, each day is gift from the Lord; it is a sign of His merciful love for each of us. St.Luke’s gospel, in a way points out the importance of ‘today’.
“Today in David’s town your Saviour is born- Christ the Lord” (2.11). Am I ready to give place for Him in my heart today?
“I must stay in your house today” (19.5). Will He ‘feel at home’ when He comes into my heart? Is my house put in order?
“Salvation has come to this house today” (19.9). Do I realise the need of this salvation wrought for me by the Lord through the death of Jesus on the cross?
“Today you will be in Paradise with me” (23.43). What is blocking me today from the experience of Paradise?
Let us heed to what St.Paul tells: “Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved” (2 Cor 6.2b)
None of is sure of getting one more chance to be faithful to the Lenten observances to unite ourselves with the Paschal mystery of Jesus, our Saviour amd to relive our Baptismal promises.
As we commemorate the Holy week of Lent, let us be reminded of what our Venerable Pope John Paul II has said: “to be converted means to enter into deep intimacy with God. Conversion involves a new discovery of God. In conversion one experiences that in Him resides the fullness of good…Let us open our souls to God’s grace and live intensely the journey of conversion towards Easter” (Homily on Ash Wednesday, Feb 12, 1997