Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 41
Monday in Holy Week
“Costly nard, priceless blood.”
After Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a woman anoints him with “very costly nard.” If you went through the Journey to the Cross experience at Incarnation, you would have smelled nard when you were anointed at the altar rail. Just a little bit of its fragrance fills the air. Imagine how much could fill the air from a whole flask! Its fragrance would have overflown out the house onto the streets. And Jesus says, “she has anointed my body for burying” (Mk 14:8). If you were there, this would’ve been a striking statement; while everyone else in Mark’s Gospel kept forgetting Jesus was going to die soon, this woman didn’t. It’s as though she remembered today’s Isaiah prophesy: that Jesus brings out the prisoners from the dungeon, and from the prison those who sit in darkness (Is 42:7)! But who’s this woman? Luke’s version of today’s passage describes her as a sinner (Lk 7:37), a word whose brevity captures its weight—she was considered by many, unforgivable. Yet, she remembered Jesus would die. Why? You see, sinners remember Jesus’ death, because they can’t forget they need forgiveness. They are thankful that Jesus’ blood purchases their forgiveness. So, this woman anoints Jesus’ body with very costly nard, because she’s thankful that Jesus washes away her sins with his very costly, indeed priceless blood. So, as we journey to the Cross this week, let’s never forget that we are sinners, and let’s also be thankful that Christ purchased our forgiveness with his blood.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.