In today's Gospel reading, Jesus is anointed at Bethany. This happens after Jesus raises Lazarus. Imagine what the conversation was like between Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus!
Mary anoints the feet of Jesus, showing us an act of great reverence and worship. She gives up something of great value to the Lord. She does not do this to make a spectacle, or even so that St. John would write about it. Rather, she is focused on the better thing (cf. Luke 10:41-42).
What a great thing it was! Expensive ointment to anoint the feet of the King. While the others dine with Jesus (a good thing), Mary again chooses to exemplify loving God and proper worship (the better thing). Her act springs forth like living water from the very fibers of her DNA.
St. John contrasts Mary's act of worship with the selfishness of Judas. Mary wants to give; Judas wants to hoard. Mary is turning toward God as Judas is caving in on himself.
The focal act of worship is the giving of ourselves over to what is most worthy. This can only be God. We are to make our entire lives a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) to the Lord. To grow in Christ as we are drawn to do, we must not hold back.
What we see vividly on display here in John 12 is the push and pull of the spiritual life. We have a tendency to be like Judas. To hold back on what we want to offer God under the guise of piety. Maybe we reason that giving too much will put us in a position of need. Or we might rationalize away clear Kingdom priorities, putting into our own order what Jesus has already ordered. The inevitable result of hoarding is poverty. We must remember that God does not need a 'rainy day fund'. He is infinite goodness and love and we can fully participate in this as members of His family.
When we withhold our praise and worship, when we keep something in reserve, we get the spiritual life backward. God wants us to imitate Him and His only begotten Son in giving ourselves over to that which has no limitation. First, to Him. Then to our fellow man in friendship and charity.
Let us pray that we respond to God and worship as Mary rightly shows us. Let us pray that we eschew the way of Judas. Let us pray that we continually allow God to mold our life as we give ourselves over as living sacrifices.