Today’s Gospel Passage: John 12: 1-11
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 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. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
Really…what would you do if Jesus came to dinner? What would you do if Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Humanity, the Messiah, showed up at your house for dinner? Well, I guess I’d use Aunt Doll’s Wedgwood China. I guess I’d make an array of wonderful recipes for the guests and worry about the centerpiece. I guess I’d use Grandmother Stockdick’s lace tablecloth and the blue bowl from Grandmother Reue. And, of course, I’d use the silver from Grandmother Williams. I would put out the best. And I would regret that the bathroom has not yet been remodeled and that the yard still show awful signs of the past winter that was unseasonably cold for our moderate South Texas climate. I mean, really, how often does Jesus come to dinner?
But I have to confess that I wouldn’t have thought of the perfume. I would not have anointed Jesus’ feet for fear of getting too intimate, too close, violating his privacy. And I would not have wiped his feet with my hair. What a mess! I guess I have to face it…I’m not a Mary. I would have been concerned about what the guests thought or how the guests felt. Damn…I’m the sister!
Oh, how I wish I was a Mary! How I wish I could pour out everything without counting the cost! How I wish I could anoint Jesus’ feet and be part of this week instead of just standing on the sidelines! But I’m one of those that probably would have saved the stupid palm branch as a souvenier! And now Jesus has turned toward Jerusalem. And I’m cleaning up the dinner dishes!
Please, Lord, let me be one of those who doesn’t worry about what others think or how much it costs or whether or not it belongs. Let me be one of those who always sets Aunt Doll’s china on the table whether or not I can guess who’s coming to dinner. Let me be the one who walks with you to the Cross rather than just sending a doggie bag.
On this holiest of weeks, may you be the one who anoints Jesus in your life.
Grace and Peace,
(Picture: Jerusalem, February, 2010)