Reading: John 12:1-11
Reflection: The Instagram page @land_geist recently posted maps from a Pew Research Center study from 2018 on Europeans who believe in God with absolute certainty and those who say that their faith is very important in their lives. Our country is highly positioned in both researches, ranking first and second. The results of the Corruption Perception Index (Source: Transparency International, 2022) were also published. In this study, we ranked third, just behind Russia and Ukraine. There will surely be those who conclude that this poor ranking on the corruption scale is due to the 46% who do not consider religion important or the 33% who do not believe in the existence of God with absolute certainty. If that is the case, then it surprises me that the least corrupt countries, such as Denmark, Finland, and Norway, are not "on the map" of countries where religion is highly important in people's lives. It is clear that something is not right in the country of Denmark, sorry, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which tells us something about how the role of religion or faith (call it what you want) is perceived and practiced in everyday life.
Today is the second day of Holy Week, the last week before Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus came to visit his friends for the last time. During his stay, two types of faith clashed in Bethany, in the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. One is Mary's faith. It is a faith that is directed toward the heavenly, the invisible, towards what is yet to come. The other is Judas' "faith". It is directed toward what faith brings in this life. The first type of faith is willing to give up, suffer, and sacrifice for the hope that does not disappoint. It does not cling to the treasures of this world. The other loves earthly wealth and seeks everything it can get - now and immediately! One is true, sincere faith that carries a reward, and the other is a false faith, because underneath the pious facade lies materialism and greed.
The difference between these two types of faith was also commented on by the great apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, saying: "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." (1 Corinthians 15:19)
The biblical texts that are read during Holy Week are intended to shape us as believers who resemble Christ - not just for one week - but throughout our lives and to prepare us for eternity.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me. Help me always remember that true devotion is a great source of gain. Teach me to be content with what I have, knowing that I have brought nothing into this world and I can take nothing with me. Help me to live a simple and humble life, free from the love of money and the pursuit of wealth. Grant me wisdom to prioritize my life according to your will and use the resources you have given me for your glory and the good of others. Help me to be grateful in all circumstances, trusting in you and your protection. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.