“Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table” (Matthew 26:6-7).
The pastor of my parish gave a meditation on this passage last Palm Sunday. He asked us about the symbolism of this passage, why the physical act was so important. I remember that it was one of those uncomfortable times when the answer was so obvious that I was embarrassed I hadn’t been able to think of it. “It’s what’s going to happen to Him!” Fr. Walter exclaimed. “He is going to be poured out–everything He has.”
Sometimes we get to the end of the day only to find that it is far from over. Others continue to cast their need upon us, continue to draw out of us every bit of strength we have left. There is something wonderful about the sweet exhaustion that follows–the beauty of a day completely spent. I imagine this is what married life, or motherhood, or consecrated life must be like. You give everything so that you may decrease, that Christ “may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
How do we find joy but through gift? There is nothing more disheartening than a room full of falsely self-sufficient people. Bring me the needy. At least they’re honest.