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Precious Gifts - Weekday Homily Video

Precious Gifts - Weekday Homily Video

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In his article, "The Fragrance of the Ointment," J.R. Miller says that the fragrance of Mary of Bethany's ointment that filled the house is a beautiful symbol of Mary's life. "She was not an active follower of Christ, except in her home and quiet daily life. She did not leave all and go with Him, as some other women and men did. Her name is not connected, even in tradition, with anything startling or great. Our first glimpse of her is her sitting at the Master's feet as a learner. Into her heart, she received the words of the Master, which were life to her. Like a handful of spices, they fell into her heart and transformed her life into radiant beauty."



Mary's anointing of Jesus touched His heart and was not a one-time act. It may have been her final tribute to Jesus; she anointed Him just before He faced the culmination of His mission.

Martha and Mary had different ways of serving the Lord, but their differences never caused any problems. Martha was busy preparing dinner for their guests, while Mary focused on making their guests feel welcome and loved. Martha showed her love through her actions, while Mary expressed her affection through her caring attitude. Martha's cooking filled the house with a delicious aroma, while Mary's nurturing spirit could be felt throughout the home. Although their approaches were different, both sisters were equally devoted to serving their guests.


The Greatest Gift


On December 10, 1905, a story written by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) was published in the New York Sunday World entitled "Gifts of the Magi." The story is so moving that it has been adapted into different media, never failing to touch so many hearts through the years. It is about a poor married couple who wanted to give each other some precious gifts, but with meagre resources, they just couldn't afford them. The man sold his watch—his only prized possession—and got his wife a comb for her beautiful hair. But his wife sold her hair to get him a fob chain for his watch. Left with gifts neither of them could use, they realized their deep love was the greatest gift they had given to each other.

Mary's lavish love for Jesus is evident in her anointing of Jesus' feet with expensive, fragrant ointment. Although it may very well had been her only precious possession, she did not think twice about "wasting" it on the One she loved. Hence, she offered Him a precious gift—her prized possession whose cost she did not bother to calculate.

Reflecting on the narratives of Mary of Bethany and the couple in "Gifts of the Magi," one might ask: What treasures do we possess that we are willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and how do these acts of selflessness shape the richness of our relationships and our own lives?

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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.