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Monday of Holy Week | Nancy Lowitt

Nancy Lowitt

April 6, 2020

Six days before Passover we see Christ join his friends, including Lazarus recently raised from the dead, for a dinner together.  Martha served, and we witness Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfumed oil and then drying his feet with her hair.  We see this extraordinary and intimate gesture, and we experience the revelation of the house filled with fragrance and love. When Judas reveals his hypocrisy Christ chides him for objecting to using the expensive oil.  Why? 

On the surface, Judas has a sound argument.  Why not use the income from the sale of the oil to help the poor?  Why would Christ allow this extravagant anointing and intimate, profoundly humble gesture by Mary? Why would the Son of Man allow this? 

Perhaps we’re meant to see Jesus teaching once again to the hearts of his friends and disciples.  He is a man soon to die and reminds all that Mary, who knows this, acts from love and understanding of the present and the purpose of what is to come. He reveals himself as a man and as divine for his willingness to accept this humble anointing which foreshadows both the last supper and his death.  “Leave her alone,” he says, “let her keep this for the day of my burial.” And we are left with this small comfort as we learn that faithful crowds and treacherous forces begin to gather outside.

Prayer: Dear Lord, as we prepare for Holy Week, keep us mindful of the power of humble acts from the heart.  Open our hearts to Christ’s teachings, and to the lesson of Mary who chose an extravagant oil and her own hair for her deeply personal gesture of faith and obedience.