Thursday, September 20, 2018
Can you see her?
She is known throughout the town for the woman she is – no ordinary, unknown panderer of her body’s wares. She is a true “madam”, and a few of her customers already sit, silent and furtive, at the Pharisee’s table.
She wears an elegant robe, for her fees are steep. Gem-encrusted bracelets encircle her wrists and ankles. But it is her hair that crowns her beauty. Flowing like a sable river, it is wound in deep waves around her lovely face and shoulders. It is scented with a small bit of the precious ointment she now carries in her alabaster jar.
Among her many assets, it is her hair that sets her apart. Some women see it through green eyes; some men through black hearts. But she, even in the confusion of her choices, has always known it to be a gift.
How to use the gift has been her life long challenge. Ultimately, would it prove to be her salvation or her damnation? Is it not so with every special gift, with every leverage that makes us singular among our peers?
These gifts may take the form of possessions, power, position, favor or myriad other shapes. They may reside in a clever wit, and incisive mind, and agile body, a profound spirit. They may rest in a dogged perseverance, an adhesive memory or a dynamic imagination. Whatever our unique power, it is the key to our self-definition. It speaks our particular presence in the world.
At some point in her soul’s journey, this gorgeous gospel woman decided that her superior beauty would serve Jesus. What might have caused that dramatic conversion in her life?
Some versions of the story say that seven devils were once cast from her by Jesus’s merciful hand. Whatever the moment might have been, we can see from today’s Gospel scene that it was profound, intimate, and complete.
Her luxuriant hair has become a sacrament of healing, offered on this night to a friend about to suffer death for the sake of Love. Because her own love is so great, she understands this suffering in Jesus long before his other followers.
This reading leaves us with so much to consider about our own gifts and how we use them; about the depth of our relationship with Jesus and how we show him our love; about what is in our alabaster jar and where we choose to pour its treasure.
Music: Pour My Love on You – Philips, Craig, and Dean