Prayer for the sick

Share On

Holy Monday
Anniversary of the death of John Paul II. Memory of the martyrs for the sake of the Gospel.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 12, 1-11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead.

They gave a dinner for him there; 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 his 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 used to help 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.'

Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead.

Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well,

since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

With Palm Sunday, we enter Holy Week. The gospel of John opens the narration of Jesus’ passion with the narration of the supper in the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus in Bethany. It was a family very dear to Jesus. It is a friendship that calls to our mind the friendship John Paul II had with the Community of Sant’Egidio as well with many others. The "cult" of the encounter, like in the spirit that emerges in Jesus’ friendship with this family, is one of the inheritances of John Paul II. In those difficult days, friendship was for Jesus relief and consolation. Passover would be in six days and Jesus was again having dinner with his friends. At one point, during the dinner Mary gets up, gets close to Jesus and kneels at his feet, covers them with ointment, and then dries them with her hair. The house is filled with the smell of the perfume. For Judas, all of this is a useless waste; he says aloud, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" In reality, the evangelist notes, he was only interested in the money, not the poor. Jesus lets Mary continue her gesture of love: the ointment prefigures the oil that would be spread over his body before his burial. And he adds, "You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." His "Way of the Cross" would begin just a little later, and it would lead to his death. Mary was the only one who understood that Jesus was to be put to death, and therefore he needed special affection and closeness as every dying person requires. This woman who had let herself be swept away by Jesus’ love teaches us how to stay close to our extraordinary Master during the coming days and how to be near to all the weak and sick. Her gesture is a symbol of the way of salvation: by affectionately accompanying the poor, we live in affectionate company with Jesus. We will always have the poor with us. They could tell us how much they need the ointment of friendship and affection.