Sunday, March 13, 2016

Leave Her Alone

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."  John 12:1-8

Often times, people misunderstand certain types of gestures, especially if from an unfamiliar culture or tradition. The church missionaries sent to Indigenous people, mistook the daily prayers and offerings to the Creator as something dangerous and possibly evil. They mistook thanksgiving and love for something blasphemous and sinful. Often, no one stood up to explain, or be an ally, and these incredible gifts and customs were put away and destroyed.

Jesus stood up for Mary, explained her offering of love, and in so doing changed the world. Mary (our Gospel tells us) bravely offered a priceless gift of love and thanksgiving, and Jesus, the incarnate God right in the midst of the people, put his feet on the ground and hands on his hips and took to her defense - an indefensible woman. The living God, in Jesus Christ, stands in our midst today, and reminds us that our work is, like Jesus, the spreading of God's love, the welcoming of the outcast, and being allies with those who have no voice.

Today, I ask God to help me use the tools and gifts I have to spread God's love by acting on behalf of others. May we be the advocates for the excluded, the side-lined, the shunned, so that God's loving light may radiate throughout the world.

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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