Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday of Holy Week

Picture at Flickr posted by Godly Women of Art

The scripture that is usually read on this day is about Jesus being anointed by the unnamed woman.

Mark 14:1-10 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; 2for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.” 3While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” NRSV

This is an awesome event. It is also in Matthew 26:6-13, Luke 7:36-50, and John 12:1-8. For one thing it is a precursor to Christ's death. He is eating dinner at Simon the leper. Lepers were ostracized people in Jesus’ day. It was amazing that Jesus was at the house of a leper. People were not to come into contact with lepers. In this version of the story, Jesus was having dinner with “one of them. Oh my, Jesus could be found with just about anyone, and he loved dinner invitations. Well not only is he at the home of one of the ostrasized, but a woman breaks in with her own agenda of a gathering of women. How dare she. And Jesus didn't even stop her. Not only that she pours this expensive oil on him, and he still doesn't stop her. Judas knew he should have stopped her, after all that money could have been used for something worthwhile, like helping the poor or at least Judas uses that excuse.
The woman wastes a whole alabaster bottle of the expensive oil on Jesus. When was the last time we wasted something on Jesus? When was the last time we did something for Jesus that got called a waste? When was it last that we did something extravagant for Jesus? When have we been poured out on Jesus? Have we been able to stop worrying about the money to instead love Jesus?

1 comment:

teachergran said...

As a kid, this was one of the stories about what I considered a minor event in Jesus' life. As I got older, I liked the respect he accorded the woman's actions. As I got even older, I noticed the way Jesus graciously accepted the anointing as his due. Today, I especially liked the way you asked about "when was the last time [we] did something extravagant for Jesus." Very apt question!! Now to find an answer! (I don't think anything is wasted on Jesus though.)