Imagine the scene, Jesus is at a dinner party and Mary opens a jar of expensive balm and warms it in her hands and then rubs it into Jesus feet. The touch of her hands made more gliding as the balm melts and is absorbed by both her hands and Jesus feet. An effortless-life motion as the balm is rubbed in. Meanwhile the perfume from the balm starts to fill the room. People didn't usually take such liberties. Even in our day it would be considered an intimate act. This is not something that can be disguised or hidden.
This causes discomfort and Judas the 'money man' tucks into Mary about the waste of money. Imagine what could be done with the money? Yes, the money could be spent on the poor; but would it?
Here in this act Mary wastes her treasured perfume on Jesus in an action that would never be forgotten and that was poignant beyond measure as he journeyed towards death.
It is a wasteful extravagance and for me it speaks so powerfully to how we care for those who are ill. It speaks so powerfully about how we lavish the best care, skill, science, research and -above all- love on those who may never be able to pay it back. Palliative care is perhaps the best example of this.
In your illness, suffering and pain may you know the overflowing and extravagant love that God wants to lavish on you for no other reason than simply because he loves you.
thank you for lavishing your love
generously, wastefully and lovingly on me.
May I sense the perfume of your presence
in the midst of illness.
This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.
If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.
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If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio every Sunday morning at 09:15 on CUH102FM