What extravagant gesture or gift can you give to the Lord as we approach Easter? What amazingly beautiful and powerful word or action might express your deep, passionate love for Christ? Mary, Bethany, gives us a powerful example or witness as one who SO LOVED Jesus that she lavishly poured very expensive perfumed oil over Jesus’ feet. “How many poor could have been fed by the cost of this gesture,?” asks Judas, who had no interest in the poor whatsoever.
Mary didn’t even consider the cost, so much did she love Jesus and NEEDED to give him lavish gift of love. Love makes us do crazy things at times. Think of the artists, painters, artisans and builders.... think of the beauty created at such a cost. Often the response is no different than the hypocritical response of Judas, “Why transform a worship space into something beautiful for God when that money could be used for the poor? Why doesn’t the Church sell its priceless treasures and buildings and contribute to the feeding of the poor?
There is a kernel of truth in these questions but they bely a deeper truth of hypocrisy: why should the person asking such questions of judgement go on expensive trips, live in beautiful homes in nice neighborhoods, have more possessions than needed, wear costly clothes? Couldn’t they/we/I live much simpler lives and use our money to better help the poor?
Why can’t we create things of beauty at great expense AND help the poor in every way possible? After all, God gave talents and gifts to our artists and creative people. It always takes money to use these talents. When Babette created her magnificent feast for those narrow minded and hard hearted people in Isak Dinisen’s “Babette’s Feast”, the cost was simply extravagant and over the top... way over the top. But that meal had the power to bring those people together, around a meal prepared on absolute love, and find healing, reconciliation, softened hearts and a deep gratitude for the beauty of God.
What can you do for Christ? Maybe it’s watching Babette’s Feast, subtitles and all, and being inspired to do something lavish for Christ.
Peace, Blessed Holy Week,