Friday after Ash Wednesday
But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’ Mark 14:6-9
It’s not that taking care of the poor is no longer important. This obligation will always be important. But time and context are everything. The context is that in Mark’s gospel, every moment is precious and ever since his baptism in the river Jordan, Jesus has been on the path that leads straight to Jerusalem and the cross. And the time has finally come for Jesus to complete his work on the cross. The backdrop is in the shadow of the Temple during the annual Passover festival. As this unknown woman bathes Jesus’ feet with an expensive ointment of nard, there were many looking on questioning the wisdom of wasting such resources in light of our obligation to the poor.
During Lent, we Christians are challenged to make choices and take on disciplines that will help us come closer to God. Many embark on a fast; a fast of alcohol, or maybe screen time, or some other things that get in the way of a holy relationship with God. As we shed ourselves of these bad habits and unhealthy wants, we make space for God to enter. Similarly, others decide to take on a discipline. The aim is not the mortification of the flesh, but rather to take on the healthy habits that lead to a stronger relationship with God. Remember, time and context are everything. Our context is a busy life as a Christian in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. The time is Lent. The time is now. The question is, will we watch and judge as the world does? Or, this Lent, will we take the time to make room for God in our busy lives?
A Prayer for Self-Dedication
Make us channels of your grace, O Lord, that our wills may conform to your will and our choices reflect your love to your people; so that your law may be fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
taken from A Time to Pray, compiled by George Cobbett
The Rev. Joseph K. Smith
Saint Mary’s, Wayne