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Archive for March 11th, 2020


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Matthew 26:6-13: The Anointing

An alabaster jar

An alabaster jar

A woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table.

I am noticing something for the first time about chapter 26 of Matthew as we read the story of the conspiracy against Jesus.  Amid the howling, the deceit, the betrayal and the preparation for the last meal followed by the passion . . . there are 7 brief verses . . . an eye in the storm of the hurricane.  Jesus is anointed . . . and even at this moment of respite, his apostles complain.  He tells us what we have heard so often: The poor are with us always, but now the King is among you.  Rejoice!  My death in this life and Resurrection into the next are upon us!  We know that where Jesus goes, we are invited to follow.

Amidst the jangle and turmoil of a terribly difficult passage in his journey, Jesus relies on God and trusts God’s providence.  He fully understands that we are all – including himself – a part of the whole.  He knows that God’s economy will provide redemption for all . . . and that this redemption rests in him.  His love for his sisters and brothers is so authentic and so intense that he sacrifices himself of his own volition. Why do we worry?  Why are we angry?  We have someone who is willing to do all that it takes to redeem us.  We must find and bring our own alabaster jar for the anointing.

From today’s reflection in MAGNIFICAT (Simon Tugwell, O.P.):  God’s providence does not mean that he has got it [life] all planned out in advance, so that our part is simply to follow.  That is the thought that might well drive us to despair: once we had left the right way, who would help us then?  We may think of God’s providence rather in terms of the way in which he integrates all our free choices, mistakes and sins and all, into his plan.  He is that expert dancer who can make dance even out of the stumblings of the most atrocious partner!  Our hatred, our fear, become the occasion of our redemption, as we see so clearly on Calvary.  (Cameron)

This is what Jesus tells his companions in today’s Noontime reading. Rejoice, salvation is at and, the God who made you in his image, the God who walks among you now, the God who watches over you is showing you a Way for you to come together in him.  And you may bring your mistakes with you!  For God is so good and so whole and so just and loving . . . that there is a seat for everyone at the table.

As we prepare for our own Passover and as we enter into the last weeks of Lent, we can rest in the knowledge and the peace that even our stumbling is made holy by God’s love.  God will integrate all of our free choices – be they sensible or insensible, just or unjust.  God will enter into our Easter dance – be it clumsy or elegant, hurried or slow-paced.  God will lead us into Easter rejoicing . . . if only we might follow.

We celebrate this un-named woman who saw salvation before her eyes . . . and honored it.

We trust that we, too, honor this amazing gift of life eternal.

We hope in the Christ, believe in the Creator, and love in the Holy Spirit.

Let us pause for a moment in the whirlwind of our days . . . give thanks . . . anoint one another . . . and follow Christ.  Let us rejoice!


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 1.3 (2008). Print.  

First written on March 12, 2008. Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.reddirtchronicles.com/2011/01/the-gospel-in-an-alabaster-jar/

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