I look at next Sunday’s text as the Federal Budget 2019 is being delivered in Canberra. We’ve moved into John’s Gospel, the place where, in her home in Bethany, Mary, with much devotion, extravagantly pours pure nard over Jesus’ feet. The aroma fills the house where she lives with her siblings, Martha and Lazarus. Judas, one of the disciples present, is not impressed. The perfume could be sold and the proceeds used to buy bread for the poor.
On the surface, we see highlighted the perennial battle for, not scarce, but abundant resources. The nard is worth a year’s wages for the average worker. What do we do with a surplus? Splash it around extravagantly or “spend it responsibly for the common good?”
This is not the question John’s Gospel is addressing, and the story plunges us, if we let it, into a deeper perspective. What is the state of our union with Christ and his purpose? John’s Gospel is eucharistic in nature – we participate in Christ’s radiant victory over all that would defeat life even on this fifth Sunday in Lent. From this perspective, we move on to serve the world, but Judas is left in a state of miscomprehension because he never quite “gets it.”
When we question this night’s budget outcomes, may it be from the eucharistic space!