Sunday, April 1, 2012

Isaiah 50:4–9a; Philippians 2:5–11; Mark 14:1–15:47

The gospel reading this week tells the poignant story of the nameless woman's anointing of Jesus at the house of Simon the Leper.

Its poignancy is all the more striking because it is the last deed of kindness done to Jesus before his death. Picture him reclining on low couches with the disciples. She enters, breaks a flask of costly perfume and pours it upon his head—not a few drops as custom would call for but all of it, the equivalent of a year's income. Mark notes that some were angered by what they saw as waste. Matthew identifies them more specifically as "the disciples" (26:8), and we can imagine their eyes narrowing as they condemned the act as shocking. Not so Jesus. He not only accepted the act but lifted it to a place of unprecedented honor as one that "will be remembered wherever the good news is preached in the world." We remember it today.


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