Counting forward from today, it is six days until Easter. I presume that is why today’s Gospel (John 12:1-11) originally got assigned to this day - because of the opening words, Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany.
It tells the familiar story of how Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfumed oil. When Judas protested her extravagance, Jesus told Judas to leave Mary alone because she was doing it for him. “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
To me, this has always been a great introduction to what we do as Church during Holy Week. The great ceremonies of Holy Week are, well, ceremonious. They are intensely dramatic, emotionally affecting, over-the-top. They are, in short, extravagant - in the best sense of the word. Not unlike Mary with her expensive perfumed oil, the Church pulls out all the stops this week. In this case, however, it is we who are the beneficiaries.