A Meditation on Mark 14:3-9; 22-25

O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!
For your love is better than wine,
your anointing oils are fragrant,
your name is oil poured out;
therefore the maidens love you.
Draw me after you, let us make haste.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
We will exult and rejoice in you;
we will extol your love more than wine;
rightly do they love you.
(Song of Songs 1:2-4)

Your name is oil poured out,
says that most sacred of all songs.
What is the Name but an indication of the self,
and what is pouring-out but love’s self-giving?
Yes, your Name, dear Jesus, is poured out for us,
washing over the body of the Church,
seeping in through every crevice
in order to penetrate to the inmost heart.
And there it brings forth life and newness,
the joy and happiness of redemption—
for what is the oil of gladness but you, dear Lord?

That woman who anointed you in Bethany,
Mary, breaking the alabaster jar of ointment,
and pouring it out lovingly upon you—
she understood the mystery of love.
For love is the complete outpouring of self
for the Beloved, and to the Beloved a gift…
She wanted to prepare you for your burial,
but what she did was more than this:
she anticipated, in a kind of sacramental image,
your Eucharistic outpouring of self,
the inner meaning of your own suffering and death,
and the mystery of your glorious Resurrection.

For what is this path that you walk, Jesus,
through the Garden of Gethsemane,
through the way of the Cross,
to the heights of Golgotha,
and then to the tomb, silent and still,
but bursting forth in the glory of Resurrection?
It is the path of Love’s complete self-giving,
the gesture by which you, dear God,
love us in the most radical and total way.
“This is my Blood which is poured out for you…”
“And one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance,
and at once there flowed out blood and water…”

Mary’s gesture of outpouring was already,
Jesus, a response to your initiative,
for she loved you, not from her own resources,
but because your Mercy had already descended,
inundating the depths of her lost and sinful heart,
awakening in her that folly of self-giving
that gives without counting the cost,
not out of a sense of external obligation,
but out of an interior need,
a need blossoming in freedom and spontaneity.

For what do we see in Mary’s very first gesture
—not the one by which she pours out oil—
but in her pouring out of her own intimate tears,
tears of repentance and contrition,
to wash your feet, dear Jesus,
and to wipe them with her hair?
We see the boldness of love, which,
from the very first moment of conversion,
trusts that it has full access to God himself,
and can bend down to spill tears upon his feet
and to intimately touch him with one’s hair.

Yes, Mary…do you see?
By touching the feet of Jesus,
you have found access to the Heart of God!
How else can you comprehend,
before it even begins to unfold,
the meaning of the Paschal Mystery of Christ?
For you imitate the self-outpouring
before it has even visibly begun,
and you also give a seal and promise
that love is stronger than death—
through the preservative oil
that covers the body of One who will die.

And Jesus praises you for this,
for he sees in you that love for which he thirsts—
a heart that first allows itself to be loved,
and on the strength of this pure gift,
loves unreservedly in response.