Reading: John 12: 1-11
Our Holy Week readings begin with Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume. It is something she bought and has kept for just this occasion. Mary anoints His feet as a beginning step of preparation for His burial. While this surface fact is true, we must look deeper as well because Mary is a study in faith, a great example to all who call on the name of Jesus.
This story is not our first or last encounter with Mary. In Luke 10 we see Mary as obedient follower. As sister Martha works to make all the preparations, Mary simply sits at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him. Jesus indicates that Mary has chosen wisely. Unspoken is the warning not to allow business to get in the way of following. The lesson here from Mary is to place His Word as supreme in our lives.
We also encounter Mary in the story of the resurrection of her brother Lazarus. In John 10 it was Mary who first sent for Jesus because her brother was sick. As news of Jesus approaching their town comes to the grieving home, Mary does not rush out to meet Jesus. She waits until He calls for her. Then she goes without delay and confesses her faith in Jesus’ power, even over death. This is a confession we too must make if we are to surrender our lives to His will.
Lastly, the anointing. There is of course the sacrifice of the expensive perfume. But for many of us, like Mary we too can ‘afford’ to give of our resources. But to go beyond is the challenge for many of us. To allow the Spirit to lead and to be willing to see God’s vision of what lies just ahead can be difficult. Here Mary does both. She goes the extra step and uses her hair to wash His feet. She allows the Spirit to lead her into this act of service. In the next chapter we see Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. He instructs them to follow His (and Mary’s) example, to be willing to serve one another. Led by the same Spirit, may we be willing to go and do likewise.