Monday 6 April 2020
Isaiah 42:1-7. The Lord is my light and my salvation – Psalm 26(27):1-3, 13-14. John 12:1-11.
‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’
Nard, an expensive oil with nourishing and antiseptic qualities, produces an earthy fragrance. As Mary wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair, she is also experiencing the cleansing, refreshing properties of the oil. The odour of death is replaced with the fragrance of health and life in abundance.
Jesus accepts Mary’s generosity – his death will be the next occasion for such gentle attention to his body. The ritual of preparing a body is somewhat invisible in our society today, yet for many people, performing this ritual for their deceased loved one provides peace and healing. It echoes the intimacy of a baby’s first bath, held by sure and loving hands.
Our love for one another can be conveyed through soothing touch in a way words cannot express. For there will be a time when we can speak no more: when life meets death and our bodies welcome God’s great love, which is the gentlest touch.