Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Monday: anointing, cleansing and happiness


Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always
(Jn 12:1-8).

The Jews commemorate Pesach today: the time the Israelites escaped slavery in Egypt by marking their doorposts with the blood of a pure lamb so that the spirit of the Lord might pass over their homes in the slaughter of the first-born. In the Gospel of John, he records that six days before the Passover, Mary lavishly anointed her Lord in anticipation of His burial. Christ commends her for the deed, saying: “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mk 14:9).

Pope Benedict XVI wrote of this: ‘There is only one anointing that is strong enough to meet death and that is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the love of God. There is, then, something that is both exemplary and lasting in Mary's anointing of Jesus at Bethany. It was above all a concern to keep Christ alive in this world and to oppose the powers that aimed to silence and kill him. It was an act of faith and love. Every such act can have the same effect.’

Holy Monday is also frequently linked to the Lord’s cleansing of the Temple which had become a den of thieves. The House of God, supposedly a place set aside for meditation and prayer, had become a place of hypocrisy, insincerity, greed and lust.

Nothing changes.

Christians are called to be living sacrifice; to worship God daily in their daily actions and with their every word. This is becoming increasingly difficult in a context of aggressive secularism confronted by a toothless church. But the witness of our extravagant devotion to the Lord is wholly dependent upon the purity and honesty of our lives: and that must be marked by humility and love, not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride. Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, and then may be found peace, joy and happiness.

22 Comments:

Blogger robertatforsythe said...

I will offer a tick for this.

18 April 2011 at 09:37  
Anonymous nicodemus said...

Great!

18 April 2011 at 09:50  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Cannot imagine a better match.

Clapper on bell (again) for written text. Youtube "Bring me Sunshine" totally brill.

18 April 2011 at 10:04  
Blogger Nick Fortescue said...

Your Grace,
I'm not sure if you are aware the Jive Aces are a Scientologist group. I've been to many of their gigs, and quite a few of the songs have strong Scientologist doctrine, and lots of adverts and fliers are handed out promoting other Scientology events. They are a wonderful live band, and this is a great video, but I thought you might like to be aware of who you are promoting.

18 April 2011 at 10:41  
Anonymous MrJ said...

What good Pastor Cranmer thinks about Scientology would be good to know (even if he were a crypto one of them) but... well the donkey-colt rider lived and died for all.

18 April 2011 at 10:52  
Anonymous Papal Bull said...

Jive Aces? The Scientologists of Swing - but I see I am not the first to have pointed this out!

18 April 2011 at 11:06  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

‘Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, and then may be found peace, joy and happiness’.

We may find ‘peace’ and ‘joy’ but I am not at all sure about ‘happiness’.

Am I the only who seems to sense that the closer one gets to the Lord the more one senses He seems distant?

‘Does not every movement in the Passion write large some common element in the sufferings of our race? First, the prayer of anguish; not granted. Then He turns to His friends. They are asleep – as ours, or we, are so often, or busy, or away, or preoccupied. Then He faces the Church; the very Church that He brought into existence. It condemns Him. This is also characteristic [‘it is for Christians to cleanse our temple’]. In every Church, in every institution [‘Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws’], there is something which sooner or later works against the very purpose for which it came into existence. But there seems to be another chance. There is the State; in this case, the Roman state [the European Union?]. Its pretensions are far lower than those of the Jewish church, but for that very reason it may be free from local fanaticisms. It claims to be just, on a rough, worldly level. Yes, but only so far as is consistent with political expediency and raison d’etat. One becomes a counter in a complicated political game. But even now all is not lost. There is still an appeal to the people – the poor and simple whom He had blessed, whom He had healed and fed and taught, to whom He Himself belongs. But they have become over-night (it is nothing unusual) a murderous rabble shouting for His blood. There is, then nothing left but God. And to God, God’s last words are, ‘Why has thou forsaken me?’’

‘You see how characteristic, how representative it all is. The human situation writ large. These are among the things it means to be a man. Every rope breaks when you seize it. Every door slams shut as you reach it [Oxford or Cambridge?]. To be like the fox [the Judaeo-Christian in the public square?] at the end of the run; the earth’s all staked out’.

18 April 2011 at 11:39  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The quote is from CS Lewis 'Prayer Letters to Malcolm'.

18 April 2011 at 11:47  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Mr Singh.
As Sherlock Holmes would have said "Come Watson, the games afoot"
But life without challenge & adversity is rather monochrome & boring wouldn't you agree. That's why We climb mountains, run marathons, seek adventures. The greatest of which is serving the Lord. Sharing His cup & following the lead of the greatest man born of woman - Ever.

18 April 2011 at 12:05  
Anonymous MrJ said...

For ease of reference: Matthew 11:11.....

Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. King James Bible
http://bible.cc/matthew/11-11.htm

11:11 Amen dico vobis, non surrexit inter natos mulierum major Joanne Baptista: qui autem minor est in regno cælorum, major est illo. (Vulgate)
http://www.logosapostolic.org/bibles/latin_vulgate_textus_receptus_king_james/matthew/mat11.htm

11:11 amhn legw umin ouk eghgertai en gennhtoij gunaikwn meizwn iwannou tou baptistou o de mikroteroj en th basileia twn ouranwn meizwn autou estin. Greek Received Text
ditto

18 April 2011 at 12:41  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Iconic, Your Grace, Iconic.

18 April 2011 at 13:27  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

His Grace does not care a fig that they are Scientologists any more that it matters to him that The Beatles were into Krishna, the Shadows were JWs or that Sir Cliff is a Christian. They make music, and that is a divine gift. This haapens to be most excellent music, and their creativity is bestowed the the Creator.

His Grace will 'promote' whomever or whatever he wishes upon his blog. The Lord who created must wish us to create and employ our creation again in His service which is already His service in creating.

18 April 2011 at 15:46  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Simple pleasues - priceless!

18 April 2011 at 16:11  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Sigh ... more haste less speed. Regret the duplication, but this belongs here and I don't know how to remove earlier posts..

Your Grace: "Let Caesar collect his taxes and make his laws: it is for Christians to cleanse our temple and devote ourselves lavishly to the Lord, and then may be found peace, joy and happiness."

Ummm - but that cleansing... remembering that our money has on it no image of Caesar (yet), and Caesar's law is not God's - and noting the scourge in the following:

And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew./And to them that sold doves, he said "Take these things hence, and make not the house of my father a house of traffic." (Jn 1: 15-16. Douay-Rheims).

In that light, we may see the House of Our Father as this prison of flesh, but may the house not also represent our Church, and our Homeland? For the 'powers' in Britain have joined in allegiance to the One Almighty God since the time of Alfred the Great (at least).

Further, Christ did not join the moneychangers in polluting the Temple. Indeed, he acted strongly against them. So if the song here refers to "Son"shine, Amen to that tradition. If it does not ... well, the more I know, the more I know I don't know.

But I am constrained to consider the possibility that Christ exemplified for us another imperative: that of having the courage of our convictions about God. He modeled the courage to die for them if necessary. For Caesar understands only the fear of mortality ... God alone has Power to resurrect and redeem us.

18 April 2011 at 16:42  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Christians are called to be living sacrifice; to worship God daily in their daily actions and with their every word."

Could you write that in block capitals please? The actions and words bit, in particular.

"But the witness of our extravagant devotion to the Lord is wholly dependent upon the purity and honesty of our lives: and that must be marked by humility and love, not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride."

And that too, I think.

18 April 2011 at 17:43  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

@17.43 18 April 2011

"But the witness of our kind and considerate concern to our fellow man as secularists is wholly dependent upon the purity and honesty of our lives: and that must be marked by humility and love, not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride."

Could you write that in block capitals please, 'not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride' bit, in particular. Just so we know, for your future commenting!

Ernsty

18 April 2011 at 23:45  
Blogger Nick Fortescue said...

Your Grace,
Please don't take my comment above as criticism, merely as supplying information. The gift of music they have is indeed common grace we should enjoy - any criticism would fall just as strongly on myself, as I freely admit to enjoying their music and live shows.

19 April 2011 at 10:38  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Godless heathen: "Could you write that in block capitals please, 'not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride' bit, in particular. Just so we know, for your future commenting!"

It doesn't work the other way around, you moron. The principles are different. I realise much of your stuff is just playground bounceback without any mature thought but this is key.

Your body is supposed to be a temple for the holy spirit, you see, and that surely includes the mind as well. If you were actually what you claim then you wouldn't be treating your temple as a refuse dump. That you don't care a hoot about that says it all.

So, back to your bounceback. Advocates of secularism need not be atheists, you mix the two up in your simplicity. Christians can easily be secularists. I'm a liberal too, which says things about freedom, not morality.

I'm also an atheist but the point about being an atheist is that the individual himself is responsible and human nature is our starting point. We have no obligation to divine beings because we haven't accept the existence of one or more of those.

Compare this with people who claim to be Christian. All the bible references I have poked in your eye last night tell you what to do and what to expect as one of those. You knowingly, willingly, happily wipe your arse on it time and again. The conclusion from that is obvious.

19 April 2011 at 11:39  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Mystic HandJOB said

"It doesn't work the other way around, you moron. The principles are different." Why, because you state it, "not by aggressive demands for rights or assertions of pride" and your ilk don't actually do this day in day out, ad nausem..please..Everyone here knows what a HandJOB you are, you show it monotonously.*Yawn*

Just like those moderate muslims who say nowt but are glad the extremists do their work for them in pushing for sharia..are you like this as a gay liberal.

"Christians can easily be secularists. " Are you for real? Christians demand the rermoval of God from public walks of life. Show me one. Get serious! DanJO's likkle fantasy world, According to HandJOB the Genius..

"All the bible references I have poked in your eye last night tell you what to do and what to expect as one of those. " How on earth would you know what these mean or can apply to life..What a sad little joker you are and why Ernst NEVER takes you seriously and parades you on this blog for the numpty you are..You confuse Ernst with a Quaker, my witless atheist.

If you think your pathetic, sanctimonious tripe has any effect on Ernst or other communicants that unfortunately have to read your codswallop, you are very much mistaken, my liberal girlie boy.

MAN UP!

Ernsty.

19 April 2011 at 15:58  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

It has much more effect on you than the holy spirit does, that much is obvious.

19 April 2011 at 17:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Pathetic, sanctimonious tripe and codswallop. Have you no brain to understand you would not know the Holy Spirit or you would not live the life you lead and revel in.

Dear boy, it is not me frequenting a blog of people I despise, tis you! There must be some deep feelings inside that forces you to come here, because it completely confounds me what your reason could be..You're not even an eloquent, knowledgeable atheist. FACT.

Therefore, what effect does this blog have on you?

Ernsty/Siggy

ps

You are not Jared Gaites, the chanteuse are you, as you reveal the same bitterness in style and formatting?

19 April 2011 at 22:13  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,

Cliff is no more a Christian than Carey.

23 April 2011 at 02:41  

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