Palm Sunday of The Lord’s Passion

Jesus dines at Simon the leper 

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days’ time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death. They said, “Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people.” When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were  infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her”. Mk 14,1-9

In the today’s gospel Jesus goes to Bethany to visit some of his friends, stopping to dine at Simon’s house, who was healed from the leprosy. We are facing hereby a vivacious and extraordinary fact: a woman enters peremptory into the house and she pours by precious perfume the Master’s head, recognizing his lordship. By this gesture she enlightens also our faith path in this week, during which we are also called to recognize, as Lord,  that Jesus of Nazareth, who is going to die on the cross to set us free from our sins. John the evangelist, on the contrary, locates the today’s fact  in the house of Lazarus, instead of that one of Simon the leper and this woman is identified as his sister Mary. Likely, John wanted to modify the location of this fact, reported also in the Mark’s and Matthew’s Gospels which were well known to him because being written forty years in advance. Not taking into account the difference of the contexts, the message transmitted by the three evangelists is the same: the recognition of the Jesus’s lordship. At this point in time we cannot avoid to say something on the value to be given to the Holy Scriptures and particularly to the gospels. These are not books of history or of  chronicle in the strict meaning of this wording, but these are books of divine revelations; the Church is so much aware about this significance up to have defined as canonical books both the John Gospel and those of Mark and Matthew. Indeed, also the books of history favour sometime the messages covered by the events better than to report the relevant details in a rigorous manner. In the “ Parallel Lives “ Plutarch, when talking about Alexander the Great and Cesar, says: “ As the painters capture the similarities of their subjects from the face and the expressions of the eyes, from where you can understand the temper, while not taking into account so much of the other parts of the body, by the same way let me pay attention to the signs of the souls, by which to represent the life of everyone, leaving to others to deal with the great contentions”. If the historians took such liberty, really we can think that the same happened with the evangelists when reporting the facts and with the Church when recognizing the canonicity of the gospels.

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