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Showing posts from March 15, 2013

Over-the-top Gestures of Love, vs Superficial Religiosity

In this upcoming Sunday's gospel, we hear the story of "the anointing at Bethany," when Jesus was at a dinner party with Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Mary opens a large jar of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus' feet, then wipes his feet with her hair. What's striking about the story is how over-the-top each of those gestures are: It's a large jar, containing a pound or a pint of perfume: picture a pint of strawberries, or Guinness...that's a lot of perfume. It's "costly" or expensive perfume: later we'll hear that it was worth "300 denarii" and a denarius was a day's wage...so it's nearly a year's salary worth of perfume. It's exquisite perfume: having been "made from pure nard" doesn't have a modern equivalence, but it's definitely a rare, precious possession Mary pours it on - she doesn't just lightly drip a few drops.