Monday of Holy Week
Today we remember Mary’s deep gratitude for Jesus as she anoints his feet with costly perfume (John 12). How does she feel as she pours it out? Did she plan to do this? Had she purchased it for Lazarus’ burial (John 11), but refused to use it, waiting for Jesus--her final hope--to come? As she looks around the table of friends including Jesus, Lazarus, Martha on her feet, and the others, does she suddenly become overwhelmed by joy, dart from the room, return with the jar, pour it out on his feet--and having no towel--impulsively wipe those sweet smelling feet with her hair? Did she then feel a touch of embarrassment at her vulnerable expression of love? How will Jesus respond?
Judas expresses what the others are wondering. In a world of dire need and pain, is there room for a “wasteful” expression of love-birthed joy? Is love the most essential thing? Jesus answers, “Leave her alone. . .you always have the poor, but you do not always have me.” Mary’s act is a blessing in love. He receives her gift with fierce gratitude and carries it forward to his own coming burial. Mary’s anointing with abandon points us toward the essential character of this week. May we gaze upon Mary’s act and be filled with this raw love of Christ. This week there is plenty need for this love. Peace.
Roy Stetler Pastor, Quickel Evangelical Lutheran Church Zion View/York, Pennsylvania 717.350.5057