And why there will always be people who will refuse to see your good deeds and intentions
When Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’s feet with pure nard, I can only conclude that it is out of great love and gratitude for Jesus.
Jesus, who had been their teacher and friend. Jesus, who wept with her as she wept for her dead brother Lazarus. Jesus, who raised her brother from the dead.
But for this great expression of her love for the Lord, the only thing she received from Judas was a harsh criticism.
“Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”
All of a sudden, her act of love had been turned into an occasion for insult. In one moment, what should have been a good work for the Lord had suddenly been criticized as a waste that could have helped other people.
Have you ever felt a similar incident? Have you ever worked for something good only to be criticized and humiliated harshly in the end?
Many criticisms can pierce the heart that only yearns to do what is good.
They are malicious in that they want to degrade a good act by making it appear foolish or even bad.
In one of my articles about Mother Teresa, I discussed a similar condition where her noble deeds had been seen by some as hypocritical, if not lacking. Despite offering her whole life for the poor, she had been badly criticized and hated.
We live in a world where we could never expect to be praised for the good things that we do.
The truth is that we may even be bashed for it. What is good can be seen as bad. What is holy can be seen as hypocritical.
Many who criticize us may not even have the best of intentions. Like Judas, they may not even be concerned for the poor or the good things they say they’re defending. Judas was a thief, and all he ever wanted was the money to take for his self interests. He loved neither Jesus nor the poor people he was using as an excuse for his sins.
Let us remember then that we are not working for human praise.
We are instead working for the pure intention of loving and serving God. Let God then be the one to praise our offering.
As we offer a fragrant perfume at the feet of Jesus, let us not be disheartened by what other people may say.
If we do not look for human approval, Jesus Himself will be the one to defend us. He will uphold the good that we do and accept the greatest offerings of our love.
“Therefore Mary took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed Jesus’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.
Then Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it.
But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you don’t always have me.’”
- John 12:3–8, WEBBE
Jocelyn Soriano is a Catholic writer, book reviewer and beta reader. You can download her free e-book "Defending My Catholic Faith" on Amazon - click here. You may also want to read her devotional book "To Love an Invisible God".