“Perfect Scents”

Jesus sees the beauty of Mary’s gesture of love, and Jesus tells us that God’s greatest gesture of love is coming. It’s coming on the cross of Good Friday. It’s coming in familiar smells. On crosses and in empty tombs, and so as Mary anoints Jesus feet today, as the perfume fills the room, Jesus stays in the moment, and keeps us there, no matter how much we—like Judas—want to deflect. And Jesus reminds us that this moment is not just death, but love.

Gospel Reading: John 12:1-8—Mary Anoints Jesus

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”