Reflection on the Unnamed Woman who Anoints Jesus

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her.Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me.The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me.She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

– Mark 14:3-9

Her story is one of only a very few that is told in all four of the Gospels. Only John names her as Mary, the sister of Martha (Luke 10:38-42). The other three writers leave her unnamed. But, Jesus’ words remain true. Her actions have been proclaimed throughout the whole world, even if her name has not.

Maybe there is a lesson in that. After we die, it will be our behavior that people will remember most about us. How we treat others has a much more lasting impact than our names. Think about your own life. Can you think of any experiences in which you were treated with great kindness or great cruelty, but you don’t remember the person’s name (or you never knew their name in the first place)? I know I can.

So, keep that in mind as you go about your day today. Your actions are like a stone thrown into a pond. They have repercussions that you could never imagine and even after you have dropped below the waters of this life, the waves still live on.

Bethanie Ryan

Bethanie Ryan

Bethanie Ryan is a housewife, mother and writer. She recently graduated with a MA in Pastoral Studies from Aquinas Institute of Theology. Originally from Missouri, she currently calls upstate New York home. She writes for several websites including her own, True Dignity of Women.

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