John 12:3-7 "Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial."
Besides just being a really fun title to put on this post, I think here is a great illustration/reminder for most of us. The type of thinking/assessment of our relationships that happens when someone is close to dying, or having a major surgery can bring us to a point that we may benefit from reaching before that point.
My dad is going in for a splenectomy as I write this. For a man who has been through what he's gone through, it could be a pretty serious operation. He's been ridiculously strong through so much, and has some pretty awesome family cheering/praying him on, so it's not a large worry. But concern for sure. It's brought up thoughts and feelings I probably should have expressed simply in daily living throughout the past few years.
The kind of love Mary expresses here, real love and not eros in this kind of emotional disguise...(funny how horribly wrong "romance" has become, often causing more damage and emotional dullness than anything life-affirming) is something we could use a bit more of. But we usually need life circumstances to prompt us. The kind that lets go of economy, turns the value system of this world upside down, and Loves well. Takes expensive fragrances worth a years wages, and dumps them as a message of Love that is unmistakable.
There's a difficult issue this brings up also. Obviously, this challenges me to be a better shower of Love to my wife, my children, my family, my close friends, the teens I love and work with, etc. Not so obvious, or easy, is the call to love my enemies, to love the least of these, to love the forgotten and overlooked in the same way Mary models for us here. Before the earthquakes and fund-raising concerts. Before they're reformed and placed back in positions that give back to society. Before they reach out to us, pleading for someone who will Love well.
To stop saving our "nard" for "some day" in the future, but to break our vessels and pour out our message of Love to those we would normally look over or even deem un-lovable without thinking.
May God help us...