As someone new to the Bible, I’m kind of on a Mary kick. Not the Mary who was the mother of Jesus but Mary of Magdalene, who with her sister Martha discovered that Jesus had risen from the dead. Maybe I’m on a Mary kick because she feels like a female role model or simply because her actions and spirit move me.
There are two interesting things about Mary to me. One, when her sister Martha was fretting about putting together a meal for Jesus and his followers, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus oblivious to anything else but his words. I love this not only because she had sense enough to stop and smell the roses and to know that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears,” but also because she BROKE THE RULES. She was a WOMAN and there she was where she wasn’t supposed to be. With the men. But more importantly, with God.
The other thing about Mary I find magnificent is that on the night before the death of Jesus, she broke open a jar of EXTREMELY expensive perfume, poured it on His feet and then wiped His feet with her hair. I read somewhere that the perfume’s value was about 30k and that letting down one’s hair in public was another big no no for women. What is extraordinary about this is that it reflects Mary’s extreme and extravagant love for Jesus. The money was her life’s savings and her ticket to marriage (if that was even in the cards). And she abandoned it all like a child selling her favorite toy to buy mom or dad a birthday present.
How many of us love that way anymore – with abandon? And knowing that others may laugh or be upset with us for it, which is exactly what happened. The men in the company of Jesus thought this woman a bit over the top. In particular, the man who betrayed Jesus, found Mary’s actions ridiculous.
Ironically, Mary wasn’t the only one down at someone’s feet. In an equally elaborate and extravagant gesture, on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This too was a big no no. Another veering from the norm.
I feel sorry for them, these men who didn’t understand Mary, for there is something about Mary, I really like. She got it. I’d like to be more like her.