Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought some spices, so that they might go and anoint the body of Jesus.

let’s see
where were we
before yesterday
oh yes
the day before

with a day to process
our starting hope
and a closing scene
we’ll honor our hope
by honoring its dashedness

we’re ready for marketeers
wanting a strong first sale
to token the rest of their day
the cheapest spice
leaves more for beggars

we at least learned
how to love our neighbors
at the material level
and that’s a tough learning
so on to the tomb

In Mark’s way of structuring his story, the suffering and death part of Jesus’ expectation was begun with an unexpected anointing by an unknown woman and is now about to be concluded with an expected anointing by three named women. [Note: If it weren’t going to be these three women, there was a guild of women in Jerusalem who would attend to the bodies of the crucified to give them as much respect in death as they could provide.]

Given that an unknown woman has already anointed Jesus—in good story-telling process, a Reader may intuit that three named women will not be successful in their quest.

Their only hope may be a present shift from their past. From other sources we hear the sordid background of Mary Magdalene. Earlier, in 4:31–35 Mary, mother of James, was demoted from blood family status to Partner of G*D status. There are stories of Salome’s being Herod’s daughter who asked for Baptizer John’s head. Anyone who changes their hearts and lives might yet find possibilities previously undreamt.

As Mark’s story hurries to its end-point, we will soon find out if their anticipated anointing adds anything but a bracketing of Jesus’ trial and death.

For Mark’s purposes, this storyline with the women does provide a counter-narrative to that of the authorities where Jesus’ body has been notarized as dead, carried away, wrapped, and deposited in a tomb with a large stone to seal him away to stinkily decompose and, later, have his bones cleared away to make room for a next body.

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