Six days before the Passover and His Passion, Jesus was anointed by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Taking a liter of genuine spikenard, she broke her alabaster jar and poured its contents onto the feet of Jesus.

Young David, the shepherd boy, had been anointed king by Saul with a horn of oil.

Now Mary wordlessly proclaims Jesus, the Son of David and Good Shepherd, the King of her heart.

Her vessel was “smashed”, and the whole house was filled with its fragrance.

How she loved Jesus, with a love that was spousal and total! This moment is permeated by intimacy and emotion. Her act was not one of initiation, but rather the response of a life broken with gratitude and bound up by adoration.  When her brother was dead, Jesus came to her, called for her and wept with her. He raised him from the dead. The words that fell from His lips were carefully drawn up into her hearts deepest recesses, as she sat at those blessed feet in the position of a disciple. He had forgiven her sins and loved her.

Judas was disgusted by her, “What a waste.” To him, the ointment was worth more than the recipient.

On the Cross at Calvary…this act seems to be some type or foreshadowing, one that gives way to an unimaginable reality.

“His body’s vessel smashed apart…now life and love flood the world”(Holy Saturday hymn)

The vessel of Jesus’ holy body, like the alabaster stone, was smashed apart, and His most precious blood flooded the world.  It was and is poured out upon us, gushing forth His side to remind us of His love and sacrifice, to cover and protect us, to heal and cleanse us of our sins.

Blessed John Paul II said this in his encyclical letter, The Gospel of Life, n. 25.

“The blood of Christ, while it reveals the grandeur of the Father’s love…shows howprecious man is in God’s eyes and how priceless the value of his life. Christ’s blood reveals to man that his greatness, and therefore his vocation, consists in the sincere gift of self.”

St. Peter saw what Judas could not, “Realize that you were delivered…by Christ’s blood beyond all price: the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb.” (1 Pt. 1:18a,19a)

How precious are we, for Jesus to anoint us which His own blood!

The Paschal Mystery, that is, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is meant to be renewed in our lives. He has revealed our vocation to us, to be poured out in the sincere gift of ourselves. It seems too simple. All Christians, whether single, dating, married, or consecrated are called to give and receive love, living lives of chastity. Chastity is the rightly ordered expression of love appropriate to one’s state in life. It should not be viewed negatively, as a “no”…rather the decision of chastity is a profound and jubilant “yes” in the spousal order! Chastity requires sacrifice and grace, and its practice brings in its wake a freedom and joy the world simply cannot give.

Those called to consecrated chastity do not deny their deepest desires for love, nor do they repress needs, simply leaving them unmet. This is not the invitation one receives from the God who is Love! The vow of chastity begins living heaven while on earth. In heaven, we are neither married nor given in marriage. We are taken into the communion of the Blessed Trinity, invited into the divine espousals and the wedding feast of the Lamb. Consecrated religious participate in this life of heaven by our anticipation of it, called to be a sign and witness of what is to come.

Mary shows us that one heart in love with Jesus is able to fill the entire house with its fragrance! One soul that bends down to perform little, hidden and silent acts of charity can overcome a university, an office building, or a church with its perfume. She was not ashamed of her love, even in the face of criticism and disgust at her lavish display! In the words of our Holy Father, who was simply echoing Christ, “Be not afraid!”  As the summer approaches, consider making time to give of yourself in a new way, bestowing to Jesus small acts of sacrifice and love.