Holy Wednesday commemorates the anointing of Jesus Christ by a woman in Bethany and the Betrayal of Christ.
In the Gospel of St. Matthew, we learn that while Jesus was dining with his Apostles in Bethany, in the home of Simon the leper, a woman came in with an alabaster jar filled with valuable perfume. She opened the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head. The disciples witnessing this act become upset, as the perfume could have been sold and the proceeds could have been given to the poor. Jesus hearing their displeasure said, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for me. For you always have the poor with you; but me you do not always have me.” The woman’s actions foreshadowed His preparation for burial. “For in that she has poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial,” said Christ (Mt 26:6-13).
Following this we learn that one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the high priests and inquired, “What are you willing to give me if I betray Jesus to you?” They offered him 30 pieces of silver, and from then on he began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus. (Mt 26:14-16).
On Holy Wednesday we thus remember two contrasting lessons; the betrayal of Jesus and the worshipful anointing of Jesus to show love and respect for Him. Examining our lives and comparing them with the two types of contrasting acts, the church asks “What are you doing as a child of God? Are you betraying your Lord with your actions or are you faithfully and lovingly worshipping Him?”