Tuesday of Holy Week

Gospel Lesson: Mark 14:3-9

Key Verse: She has done what she could. She has anointed my body ahead of time for burial.

Sometimes, like the woman who anointed Jesus, we receive criticism for what we have done. We are accused of wasting money or time; we didn’t do enough to support people in need; we don’t belong at the table; we interrupted an important conversation; we are not wanted or valued. The woman’s gift is extravagant, a treasure received or earned with effort. Often, those who criticize are suspicious of unknown women who behave in embarrassing ways, that suggest a relationship with Jesus that we do not understand. We wonder about her motivation, and about what she expects to receive in return. Such extravagance makes others uncomfortable, wondering about their own extravagance – or lack of extravagance. What a gift Jesus gives to the woman when he defends her, recognizing the significance of her anointing his body for burial, accepting the gratitude and love that pours from the alabaster jar and from her life. Sometimes, the voices criticizing our actions for what we have done are our own. We waited too long; we spent too much; we acted without considering the consequences; we intruded when we should have stayed out; people will misunderstand what we intended. Whether the voices come from within or without, remember what Jesus had to say: “She did what she could. . . .wherever in the whole world the good news is announced, what she’s done will also be told in memory of her.”


Meditation/Call to Action

  • In what ways does extravagance toward Jesus – our own or someone else’s – make us uncomfortable?
  • Does fear of criticism act as a barrier toward doing what we would like to do to express our love for Christ?
  • Is there a gift that might anoint the body of Christ in the world that we have been afraid to offer?
  • Have we been afraid of criticism or rejection if we pour out oil from our alabaster jars?
  • What might help us offer our gift of love, as the woman did that evening?



O Jesus,

            how we long to pour our love upon you,

            to express our love and gratitude in tangible ways.

Knowing that you honor unnamed men and women frees us to serve,

            encourages us to give,

            and increases our love for you.

We give thanks in your holy name. Amen.


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