Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
Today is Holy Wednesday, and the Church invites us to reflect on two opposite characters: the unknown woman who anointed Jesus with precious oil and Judas, one of the twelve apostles, who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver.
Saint Matthew writes: “6 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. 8 But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? 9 For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:6-16)
In today's reading, we see the salvation of the unknown woman contrasted with the tragic fall of the chosen disciple. The woman offered her precious gift to the Lord Jesus and was saved through her repentance, while the chosen apostle betrayed Christ for only thirty pieces of silver and, instead of repenting, took his own life. One received the inheritance of the Kingdom, while the was condemned.
According to the Gospel, the apostles (possibly including the money-loving Judas) criticized the woman for wasting the precious oil by anointing Jesus; they suggested that the oil could have been sold at a high price and the proceeds given to the poor. Sadly, for those who prioritize money above all else, the Liturgy of our Church, which is intended to glorify God, is often seen as a "waste" of time and resources. Similarly, for those who do not believe, the Holy Badarak may seem meaningless.
My dear friends, the most significant action we can take in this world is to worship and praise God, and to “perform a good service for Jesus.” The unknown woman didn’t care what others thought; she persisted in pouring the oil and worshipping her beloved Savior.