My Beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
The Holy Bible mentions three separate stories of women pouring fragrant oil onto Christ Jesus our Lord.
The first story is mentioned in both the book of Mathew 26:6-9 and Mark 14:3-9, which happened in the town of Bethany at Simon the Leper’s house, two days before the Passover. This is why the church mentions this story on the Wednesday of the Paschal week.
“And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” [Matt.26:9-13]
The second story, mentioned in the Gospel of St. John: 12:1-8, is similar to the previous story, but it happened six days before the Passover, thus the church reads this Gospel in the Vespers of Palm Sunday. It happened in Bethany as well, but at Lazarus’ house and the one who poured the fragrant oil is Mariam, Lazarus’ sister. The one who criticized this act was Judas Iscariot and the reason is mentioned in the Gospel of St. John, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.” [Jn.12:6]
As for the third story, it was mentioned in the Gospel of St. Luke: 7:36-50. It happened at Simon the Pharisee’s house who criticized Christ for allowing the sinful woman to pour the fragrant oil, “and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” [Lu. 7:38] Christ defended what this repentant woman had done, and rewarded her love for Him by granting her forgiveness of sins, “Then He said to her “Your sins are forgiven.” [Lu.7:48] then granted her peace saying, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” [Lu.7:50]
- We notice that pouring of fragrant oil is a sign of love, and the women who poured the fragrant oil offered the most expensive thing they had for the love of Christ the King of Glory. Thus, we read during a woman’s funeral the story of the woman pouring the fragrant oil from the Gospel of St. Mathew to console the family of the departed and that her life that she offered to Christ was not in vain, and the most precious thing we offer to Christ is our life.
Mary the sister of Lazarus felt Christ’s love for her and her brother and sister when He raised Lazarus her brother from the dead. This is why she proceeded to make Him dinner and pour the fragrant oil on His feet: to express her love for Him and her thankfulness for what He had done for them.
As for the third woman, she offered repentance with love and hope in forgiveness by Christ, thus Christ accepted her repentance and granted her forgiveness.
- Pouring of the fragrant oil does not contradict serving the poor; on the contrary the person who offers his life to Christ, the person who feels Christ’s love, and the repentant person, is the one who is capable of giving to the poor. Paul the apostle in his second epistle to the Corinthians offered an example of generosity in giving to the needy by talking about the Churches of Macedonia, who despite the hardship and need, offered generously, and St. Paul testified on their behalf saying, “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing” [2Cor.8:3] St. Paul also revealed the secret in their generosity in giving by saying, “They first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” [2 Cor.8:5]
- Generosity in giving by pouring expensive fragrant oil is not linked to the material wealth of the person, but by her richness in love; for those who possessed material wealth were not the ones that poured the fragrant oil, but the Holy Bible assured us of their richness in true love for Christ, to Him is all Glory.
May God pour in our hearts the richness of His love; to ignite our hearts with love towards Christ who loved us and died for our salvation, to give and give generously to the needy.
May the Lord bless your personal offering to support Santa Verena Charity programs in serving every needy and suffering soul.