In the readings for the Monday before Easter
Jesus is back in the home of Lazarus of Bethany whom he recently raised from the dead. John writes,
There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (John 12:2-3).
Through Judas Iscariot's indignation we discover that Mary's gift is worth 300 denarii, or roughly one year's wages. Gail O'Day has written of this event,
The annointing is an act of pure extravagance...Mary's annointing of Jesus anticipates the love commandment that Jesus will give his disciples, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another" (13:34-35). The depth of Mary's love for Jesus is signaled by the extravagance of her gift. Mary is the first person in the Gospel to live out Jesus' love commandment.
Mary's extravangance is an over-the-top example of a faithful follower of Jesus responding to the love Jesus' first showed her. Before the week was out, Jesus would show how great was his love for us—"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:3). We too are called to respond in our own way to the extravangant love Jesus showed us.