The “Lectionary” is fancy word for a collection of scripture readings from the Bible. It follows the Christian Calendar for 3 years, organizing scripture into groups that compliment the different seasons of the liturgical year. By the end of the three year period, almost all of the Bible has been covered. Many congregations and denominations follow the Lectionary texts every week to ensure that they are covering most of the Bible over a few years and that they are following the Christian Calendar. One of the Lectionary texts from this past Sunday, for example, came from John 12:1-8. Since next week is Holy Week, the week leading up to it uses the text where Mary anoints Jesus for burial.
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.”
The power of Mary’s witness here is that she acts without being told. She knew how to live out Jesus’ commandment of love before he ever gave it. She offered something of great value to her, despite all the other ways she could have used it. She embraced Jesus’ departure from her before he ever explained the full meaning of it. Mary was so overwhelmed with love for Jesus that this act of service just poured out of her.
Being disciples of Christ means that we are seeking out ways to show love to others and deepen our connection with Jesus. We are not just waiting for opportunities to come to us. For the remainder of this Lenten Season, let yourself be overwhelmed with love for Christ. Like Mary did, let this love pour out of you. Let Jesus know just how much he means to you.