“When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard.
“She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head” (Mk 14:3).
While the woman in this account is not named — some believe her to be Mary Magdalene, others Mary of Bethany.
The thing I find most remarkable about this is not the anonymity of the woman, but the reaction of Christ. Unlike his host, who recoiled at the sight of the woman touching his honored Guest, the Lord defended her. “Leave her alone … She is preparing my body for burial. Wherever the Gospel is preached, what this woman has done will always be remembered.”
The others wanted to brand her for her past … but the Lord looked into her soul, and saw fully the present in light of the future. And He continues to do this for each of us. Whatever our past mistakes, whatever our faults and failings, Our Lord covers them all as we present ourselves to Him for wholehearted service.
He knows our faults all too well — He died to cleanse us from every one of them. And so, when He looks at us, He sees not the times we have faultered, but the times we have demonstrated our love. This is mercy, this is grace, at its most remarkable and enduring.
Have you been to confession this Lent, to get ready to receive your Lord in His Easter glory?
Photo credit: Under Her Starry Mantle