Today is Spy Wednesday! Today we recall that Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, a clandestine spy among the disciples. Today we also find Jesus staying at Simon the Leper’s house in Bethany where a woman anointed him with a rather expensive perfumed oil.
“Sisters and brothers, as we honor Christ, anointed for his burial in the face of betrayal, we also pledge our unity in Christ and our fidelity to the mission entrusted to us,” says BIshop Earl Boyea in his Holy Week meditation for today, March 31.
“We have been anointed for this mission in our Baptism and Confirmation. We are not in this alone as we follow our Lord on his holy journey.”
* Here is the Bishop’s script in full: Seven Days of Holy Week: Wednesday w/ Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing: Spy Wednesday! That is what the Wednesday of Holy Week has often been called. Matthew (26:14-16) reports: “Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” This happened two days before Good Friday (Matthew 26:2).
At the same time, Jesus was staying at Simon the Leper’s house in Bethany where a woman anointed Jesus with a rather expensive perfumed oil. Jesus told his indignant disciples that she had done a good thing as this was a preparation for his burial (Matthew 26:6-13). The burial anointing of Jesus, in fact, would not take place on Easter Sunday morning since the body would not be there in the tomb.
All is now set for the next three days. Jesus will cite the third Suffering Servant Song, our first reading today, at the Last Supper, “For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, namely, ‘He was counted among the wicked’; and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment” (Luke 22:37). Jesus is ready.
Tomorrow morning, in many dioceses, the Chrism Mass will be celebrated. This is the one occasion in the year when the bishop, the priests and deacons, and the laity of the diocese gather to affirm their unity and fidelity. Their unity is manifested in the person of the bishop, who is the first celebrant of the mysteries of the faith in the diocese. This is so clearly represented by the oils to be used throughout the local Church being blessed by him. The ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all the faithful are also celebrated at this Mass, especially as the ordained renew their promises.
Sisters and brothers, as we honor Christ, anointed for his burial in the face of betrayal, we also pledge our unity in Christ and our fidelity to the mission entrusted to us. We have been anointed for this mission in our Baptism and Confirmation. We are not in this alone as we follow our Lord on his holy journey.