I was listening to the Pray as you go podcast today and the reading was this from the Gospel of John:
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
1Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
I was moved to reflect once again on the actions of Mary of Bethany (is she a saint I wonder?).
I was struck by the following things:
She is the only one of the disciples to fully accept that Jesus has to die. The perfume is for anointing the dead, in anointing Jesus she is accepting what has to happen to him. Perhaps she was the only one that truly heard Jesus’ constant reminder to his disciples that he would have to suffer, die and be raised again on the third day?
The perfume would have cost all the money she had. It is like giving away your car or computer. In carrying out this act, Mary makes a huge sacrifice, not only emotionally, in accepting what had to happen to Jesus, but financially/physically as she gives away all she has.
What Mary does is a huge act of faith. She is ready to sacrifice her material possessions and also her hope in Jesus and what he will do. What she also does is wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair. This would have been outrageous – a woman’s hair should have been covered in that society. She makes herself fully vulnerable before Jesus, almost naked, just giving herself fully to Him. This she does in front of the other believers at the meal, unashamed of her devotion to her saviour.
Once again, Mary has set an example that I would like to follow.