Thoughts on Mary and Jesus
There is a lot going on both before, in and after today's gospel reading. John is ramping up the heat. Lazarus has been raised from the dead, and the Judean elite can only see bad things coming out of that. When Jesus is finished here he will travel into Jerusalem on a donkey and that will really get up some noses. The story is coming to its climax.
In the middle of all that we have this story, a version of which is in every gospel. The smell of death hangs over this story- Lazarus first death and his threatened death, and Jesus imminent death on a cross. Mary is the rule breaker. She refuses to fit neatly into the boxes prescribed for her. She sits at Jesus feet as a disciple - a role reserved for men alone. She does not stay in the kitchen. And here she assumes the role of a slave and washes Jesus feet with expensive perfume; a perfume that fills the house with the smell of life. She will not be confined or defined by anyone. In Jesus she is freed to offer all that she is. By her action of love and care the smell of death is conquered.
As we look to Good Friday and live in a world which at times seems overcome with the smell of death I wonder how are we might act with love and care to conquer this smell and replace it with the smell of life?