by Bronson C. Davis
Some days the pressures of daily life can overwhelm us. We often try to do the proverbial “twice as much in half the time” and run ourselves ragged trying to inculcate speed, productivity, and dependability into our working lives. We live by deadlines and find ourselves at the mercy of expectations from coworkers, family, and friends. No wonder we find ourselves easily distracted, unable to focus on what is happening right before us.
We would like to think that life was a lot slower and easier in Jesus’ day. Yet, somehow I think Jesus feels equally burdened when he goes to a supper in his honor in Bethany where Martha serves; Lazarus, Mary, and some of his disciples are present. It is six days before Passover, and Jesus senses that his ministry will soon culminate-possibly not in the triumph his disciples imagine. He knows his opponents lie in wait. Jesus has to be thinking about his next move. How can he best deliver God’s message to a world so headed in the wrong direction?
In this story, Jesus exhibits a quality that all of us need to embody as we move through our busy lives. Despite his many concerns, he is absolutely present for Mary as she anoints his feet with the precious ointment. He fends off Judas Iscariot’s criticism and recognizes her simple act of kindness. Jesus isn’t distracted by the meal, by the challenges of his ministry, or the criticism of the cost of the ointment. Rather, he focuses on Mary and her special gesture of gratitude .
Dear God, in the hurly-burly of our lives, help us be attentive to those around us and to give thanks readily for the many blessings that come our way. Amen.