“Leave her alone,” said Jesus, as they began to find fault with her, “why are you troubling her? This is a beautiful deed that she has done for me.
having been triangled in
the best we can do
is put the brakes on
this is about you
not her not him
not them not me
turning a blessing
into a curse
Readers who have attempted to carry the story Mark is telling along with them, will hear anger in Jesus’ response. They need only remember the time when the disciples were scolding children and Jesus clearly and sharply said, “Stop it!”
The question of why we are so prone to making trouble for any who make us uncomfortable is a live question in every age. Why do we so quickly and easily institutionalize personal prejudice in communal discrimination so the two are woven together in such a way as to increase resistance to change. Our prejudice is confirmed in discriminatory practice and increased discrimination is claimed as natural for we feel it so closely.
We also can hear echoes of Jesus’ response to the widow offering her two half-pennies. She contributed all she had. This cousin in anonymity has given all she has to the last drop from a broken-open flask. Both acts of commitment are describable as “beautiful”. It is this Way of Beauty that Mark has been attempting to describe since his opening quote from Isaiah.
It is difficult for males benefiting from the prejudice and discrimination of an institutionalized patriarchy to break free. Those who are most clearly able to break through this constriction are the anonymous women who, one after another, are revealed as active partners in living deep within wildernesses shaping changed hearts.
Passover is a time of liberation and this scene is emblematic of on-going liberation work needed for the honoring of women within a church well-known as patriarchal, for the honoring of those who are still discriminated against because of color, sexual orientation, or migrant/alien/refugee status. The same honor is to be extended to children, seniors, disabled, and untold additional ways humans have protected themselves from being partners, Neighb*rs. And, always we need to be ready to honor those not yet recognized as beautiful.