“She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.”
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What’s in your alabaster jar? What talents or treasures or wisdom have you stored up, saved, protected, and developed, or what have you put on a shelf and forgotten about? Mark 14:3-9 and Luke 7:36-50 show us the passion of a woman who anointed Jesus with perfume.
In those days, there were no deodorants and indoor plumbing for taking showers to get rid of body odors caused by the hot, sweaty climate. And bath-houses were not readily available for everyone. So people made perfumes. After creating a mixture of oils and herbs, they let it sit in a jar to ferment. The longer they stored it, the more potent – and valuable – it became.
For the perfume in this scripture to be a “costly” gift for Jesus, it must have been fermenting for a very long time.
When we want to give a gift, we usually head to the store to buy something new. Right? But our most precious possessions are those that have been important to us for many years. Giving them to others feels like a very huge sacrifice.
What do you hold onto because it means so much to you? What has been fermenting in value because you’ve had it for such a long time?
Can you imagine giving it away? You’d have to first feel very passionate about the person to whom you give it. The giving has to be more valuable than the keeping. This happens only because of love.
How passionate do you feel about Jesus? What’s so precious to you that it’s hard to let go of – something that he’d appreciate receiving from you? Are you willing to sacrifice this because of the love you feel for him? Do you feel that much love for him?
In other words, what’s in your alabaster jar? Are you ready to pour it out to Jesus, freely and generously?
Think about what he poured out for you so freely and generously during his ministry and teachings, and in giving himself to you in the Eucharist, and in the painful sacrifice he made for you on Good Friday. And again, ask yourself: What’s so precious to you that it’s hard to let go of – something that he’d appreciate receiving from you? Will you let him have it?