An Act of Love close to Passover

The gospel of John is both amazing and baffling for various reasons. Jesus is going to the home of Mary Martha and Lazarus.
They are almost his closest circle of friends, perhaps closer than his disciples. Martha provided hospitality for Jesus and his disciples.

Mary, Martha’s sister was a deep thinker and Lazarus was their brother. He died later but was raised to life again by Jesus. They were very close friends. Mary and Martha were young  women. They admired Jesus and each time when Jesus came to Jerusalem he stayed with them. The three provided a home for Jesus and He loved them and they loved Him.

Jesus enjoyed friendship.

You know, much of the beauty in life we experience in the relationship with friends, with other people.  We don’t need many friends but most of us need someone, at least. People with whom we take the risk of knowing and being known. I guess this is the essence of the human and spiritual journey which we may enlarge by increasing our compassion on display for others. This is the beauty to have friends with whom we can share our common humanity. In some of those encounters we can become a new beginning as well,  at times.
This adventure may widen our horizons. And what is more appealing that people know us and love us anyway and vice versa?

In essence this is what God does to us as well.

The diner party Martha and Mary had with Jesus one night, including some others, – was dense with feeling. Not abundant as such but as if something was hanging in the air. As if something was going to happen.

Mary comes up and goes to the cupboard and gets a bottle which is filled with a nice smelling lotion. A very expensive one and she is pouring this over the body of Jesus.

The original Passover, a memorial to God passing over the houses of the children in Israel is an act of protection and love for his people.

It was at a time close to the Jewish Passover. The time as well that chief priests were plotting to kill Jesus. This lotion or oil was a very expensive and luxury item in the house of Maria and Martha. With her hair bend down she massages the oil into the skin of Jesus.

Touching and being touched in the most loving way is something both beautiful and sacred in life as it is part of our core humanity. Mary offers her expression of love to Jesus without any expectation. She does it because she feels it deeply. This has nothing to do with calculation of any kind.

She is not doing it because Jesus needs it but she feels she needs to give it

And for sure, there are always people (like there were at the time) who comment on this in a cynical way. Such as the expensive oil could have been sold for the benefit of the poor etc. And often those remarks may come – if we translate this situation to “here and now – from people who do not care one bit about the poor. People who take a cheap shot on both remarkable and beautiful circumstances, full of prejudice

People who are technical right but so awful wrong in measuring the spirit of the moment, so to say. And Jesus remarks quite straight in both his comments and observations that the poor will be always there, – but He will not be always there.

He understood that there is a difference between an indulgent expression of love and an act of excessive self-love. Mary was just genuine in her appearance at the time and in the presence of love there are no rules or regulations.

If you love somebody for what he means or for what he gives, or for what she gives and means to you, – what is against a genuine expression of affection?

Art, love and acting in spirit is not about money, calculating or accounting, – but it is about startling and amazing moments in life. Both wonder and beauty, and they can’t be sold.

When people are moved and respond from this emotion in their unique identity with love, there are times you have to break open the bottle of expensive oil, – and do what your genuine feelings of affection dictate you what to do. All this as part of a spontaneous act of love, – which is always in the giving and not in the taking.

Mary loved Jesus and she knew what to do in that moment

If I look at the world, I see there are plenty of barriers and walls. Plenty of rules and regulations. Plenty of prejudice and taboos.

But what has been given in true love neither knows taboo, nor barriers or walls, –  and as such we may be part of many and many may be part of us

For we know in part, – but in love we are complete!

Are we?

Thank you.

Paul Alexander Wolf


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