[During Holy Week] a woman entered and poured an ointment of
very expensive oils on Jesus’ head. Those who were at the table
were infuriated with her for this waste of money. But Jesus said,
“Let her alone. Why do you criticize her? She has done me a kind
ness.” Mark 14:3-9
Acts of generosity, free-will offerings to the needy, stockings full of eyes-exciting gifts, packages bulging with “just what I wanted”—these acts of thoughtfulness reveal the spirit of Christmas. Because God was so kind as to send us the very best of gifts, we copycat God’s loving kindness by kindness of our own. The unnamed woman of Mark’s gospel somehow sensed that Jesus’ dignity demanded a special gesture of respect. She was most generous; then Jesus returned the favor. Our Lord reserved a place in heaven for her … and, as an “extra,” he stipulated that her gift-giving shall never be forgotten.
THE GENEROUS WOMAN SPEAKS TO YOU
“Blessed are you, and worthy of God’s praise, for all your acts of generosity this year. My gift to Jesus was instinctive. I loved him and trusted his love for me. So I had to demonstrate this love, somehow. Bystanders, even the apostles, criticized me for overdoing it. There may be people in your life who will criticize you for the same reasons: ‘You are too generous,’ they will say; or ‘You are overdoing it with time and money for so-and-so!’ Never mind them. By your good instincts, your initiatives with love, you are learning about God’s ‘Bethlehem initiative’ with you.”
Jesus, bless me with double blessings for the kindness I am prepared to give to others. Bless me once by approving of my generosity, just as you blessed the woman who was so kind to you. And bless me in a second way, as well: by the love I give to others, help me to know better the Christmas love I receive from you. Amen.