In the long gospel reading for Palm Sunday, we hear the story of the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany.
Of the entire Sunday gospel reading from Mark, this section really struck me this year.
The woman anoints Jesus with a costly ointment from an alabaster jar that she bursts open in order to pour the ointment on his head.
The action provokes anger among observers over the ointment having been “wasted” instead of sold so that the money could be given to the poor.
“If what Christians say about Good Friday is true,” said Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, “then it is, quite simply, the truth about everything. I have written this for people who are convinced of that truth, for people who are open to thinking about whether it may be true, and for people who are just curious about why so much of the world thinks Good Friday is the key to understanding what Dante called ‘the love that moves the sun and all the other stars.'”
Fr. Neuhaus devoted an entire book to meditating on Good Friday and, accordingly, came to a deep sense that “Good Friday is not just one day of the year.” Rather, Good Friday is the central event around which history pivots; it is also the basis for the words “crucial” and “crux.”