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.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
From Rick Putman
“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.”
This is the most overtly sexual scene in all of the canonical Gospels. What are we being invited to imagine?
Who was this Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet, and then caressed him with her hair? I don’t know for sure, but it’s reasonable to imagine it was Mary of Magdala, the woman whom Jesus did not condemn but guided her to wholeness. And if we are to believe the non-canonical Gospels, it was this same Mary who, through her expansive love, guided Jesus to the wholeness of his humanity.
Here’s a song for you to reflect on this mystery: “I Am Light” by India.Arie