Main Readings: Isaiah 43.16-21, Ps 126, Philippians 3.3-14, John 12.1-8
Supplementary readings: Ps 73.1-17, Galatians 5.1-13, Isaiah 52.13 – 53.12, Ps 130, Luke 23.26-49
“Mary took a pound of costly perfume…anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.” (John 12.3)
After being told a beloved mentor of mine had suffered a stroke and was about to die, I immediately wrote to him and poured out all he had meant to me. Happily, not only did he NOT pass away – he is still here today! I was initially embarrassed by my emotional letter, but my friend was very glad to have read it BEFORE his funeral.
In today’s Gospel passage, several embarrassing things happen. Mary lets down her hair in a disturbingly public way and breaks open a jar of expensive ointment, raising eyebrows by massaging the Master’s feet, with Judas’ outburst creating further discomfort.
Throughout the Gospels, we see social ‘rules’ overturned all the time. Jesus’ followers understand it’s never embarrassing to show your love and devotion for the Son of God, the Prince of Peace. Just as the ointment’s perfume filled the house, so the person and message of Jesus must fill the world, unstoppably proclaimed from East to West, for all time. Jesus calls us to understand that we are loved with a love like no other, and we are to show that by leading lives like no other.
Mary’s giving of herself encourages us all to put our love into action. Just as composers may be told, “Don’t die with any music left in you”, let’s ensure we express our love and gratitude to others before it’s too late.