A Lenten Pilgrimage
March 30, 2015 Monday: Holy Week
TODAY we reflect on the anointing of Jesus’ feet by a woman named Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus who were close friends of Jesus) which foreshadowed His imminent death. She honored Him as God’s anointed and poured out to Him love and devotion too deep for words.
As Jesus made His way towards Jerusalem for what He knew would be His last Passover with His disciples, He stopped in the village of Bethany where He was invited to dinner by a well-to-do host named Simon. In the course of the gathering, a woman interrupted the meal, which shocked all those who were present: She loosened her hair and anointed Jesus’ feet. During that time, to loosen one’s hair in public, even for a married woman, was a sign of grave immodesty. Oblivious to all around her except for Jesus, she generously poured out a very precious ointment on His feet and then dried them with her hair.
There were some like Judas Iscariot who became indignant over what she did: “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.’’ Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me… She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing My body for burial.’’ (Mk 14:4-8).
Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give Me water for My feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Your did not give Me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing My feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’’ Then, He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.’’ (Lk 7:44-48).
The greatest commandment is not to understand, proclaim, or obey but to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mt. 22:37). After welcoming Jesus yesterday, we now accompany Him to His passion, desiring to be more intimately unified with Him. With an inner knowledge of the heart, may that love which impelled Mary to give not just a few precious drops but everything she had, also well up in our hearts.