I had the pleasure of leading a reflection at the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in Ireland on 25 March. It was part of the annual series of Lenten reflections that has been such a valuable part of the work of CCCI.
My text was Mark 14:1-12 and the session was titled “Forgotten Memorial” and I thought I would reproduce the content in the coming days, and add some further detail along with some of the fruit of conversation.
Meanwhile, here’s the text.
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
1Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2″But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6″Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
10Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.