Posted by: fvbcdm | March 30, 2012

Feast of Saint Peter Regulatus (30 Mar 2012)

The great days are nearly upon us.  This Friday, as I record this daily message, we are only one week away from Good Friday and nine days from Easter Sunday, the most beautiful of all our religious festivals and holydays.  

Shortly before Our Lord’s sufferings and death, he had raised his friend Lazarus from the tomb. And on that occasion, he had said “I am the resurrection and the life.”  To show their appreciation for this tremendous gift of the restoration of their brother to life, Martha and Mary gave a dinner for Our Lord on the Saturday night before his death. During that meal, Mary approached Our Lord’s feet. which were easily accessible since people lay on couches in the Roman style to participate in a meal.  The couches radiated out from a small circular table likes the spokes of a wheel, and when anyone approached the table, the feet of the diners were the first part of the body that could be touched.

Mary had with her a container of very expensive perfume which she poured lavishly over the feet of her beloved Master and Friend.  Then, as a special mark of humility and devotion, she dried those feet with her hair.  Saint John the Evangelist tells us that the whole house was filled with the aroma of that perfume, and that Our Lord declared that Mary had kept the perfume for his burial.  The guests at the meal probably found that saying of Our Lord strange, since he was obviously alive and well.  And yet he makes the connection of THAT perfume with his burial.  They could not know that just a week from then, that beloved body of his would be a cold, dead corpse lying in a stone tomb, and that the traces of that perfume would still linger on his feet, which had been wounded horribly by the nails of his crucifixion.  Ordinarily a dead body was perfumed AFTER one’s death; in this case, the body of Jesus was perfumed before he died.

When Our Lord died in mid-afternoon on the following Friday, there was no time for the proper preparation of his body for burial because the Sabbath was nearly upon them when that sort of thing was not allowed.  His body was hastily placed in the tomb of a friend, Joseph of Arimathea.  Another friend, Nicodemus, brought aromatics and spices with which to perfume Our Lord’s body.  Either the women of Easter morning did not know that this had been done, or they perhaps thought that this supply of funeral things was not sufficient, because  they came on that Easter Sunday morning with more spices to place on and around the body of their Lord.  And we know the rest of the story: the tomb was gloriously empty!

Next week, we will reflect upon the events of that first Palm Sunday which we celebrate and contemplate on the Sunday of this weekend.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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