Sermon Introduction –
Mary buys expensive oil to anoint Jesus’ feet. Judas thinks she spent too much. Jesus adjusts their perspective to remember the poor.
Introduction to this week’s readings
Our God makes all things new. In the first reading God promises it. In the gospel Mary anticipates it, anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume in preparation for the day of his burial. In the second reading Paul recalls the transformation from the persecutor Saul into an apostle. In baptism, God’s new person (you!) rises daily from the deadly mire of trespasses and sins.
Reading: Isaiah 43:16-21
Introduction: The prophet declares that long ago God performed mighty deeds and delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage through the waters of the sea. Now, God is about to do a new thing, bringing the exiles out to Babylon and through the wilderness in a new Exodus.
Reading: Psalm 126
Excerpt: Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy (Ps. 126:5)
Reading: Philippians 3:4b-14
Introduction: Writing to Christians in Philippi, Paul admits that his heritage and reputation could give him more reason than most people to place confidence in his spiritual pedigree. But the overwhelming grace of God in Jesus calls Paul to a new set of values.
Reading: John 12:1-8
Introduction: Judas willfully misinterprets as waste Mary’s extravagant act of anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume. Jesus recognizes that her lavish gift is both an expression of love and an anticipation of his burial.