Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
June 12, 2016
A Time for Extravagance
It is a simple story, appearing in all four Gospels with some variations. However, certain aspects are consistent:
- Jesus was dining as the guest of honor.
- The door was open so people could mill around.
- The guests were reclining, as was the fashion for eating in those days. They would have removed their sandals and reclined on couches with their feet stretched out away from the table.
- Outside, a woman waited. Did she hear the whispers of others around her, commenting on what kind of woman she might be? Surely she wasnít going inside!
But that is exactly what she did. She entered, her hair loosely flowing as she approached Jesus. This woman was an outcast in her own community. She knew the pain of being ostracized and the painful awareness of her own condition. But most of all, she knew that with Jesus there was forgiveness and acceptance and renewal, and that he would not turn her away. Luke tells us she was weeping. As her tears wet Jesusí feet, she wiped them away with her hair. Then she broke open a flask of expensive perfume that she poured on Jesus as an extravagant expression of unrestrained love and devotion. Jesus was deeply moved. The woman gave all she had; she held nothing back in expressing her love.
Jesus taught that our true relationship to God is reflected in our relationship to him; and our relationship to him will show in our relationship to others. Where are the outcasts in our communities who need to know of the love and forgiveness that Jesus offers? We would pray for courage to love and give extravagantly of our gifts of self, holding nothing back as we respond to his love and forgiveness.
Ramona C. Prestwood, pastoral assistant, Calvary Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina