The Woman with the Alabaster Jar of Ointment

This meditation is based on a passage for July 15, 2010 in the Daily Lectionary Year 2 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: Matthew 26:1-16

Reflection and Question: Here the momentum begins toward Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. I highlight for our reflection the pouring of the costly ointment upon Jesus’ head by the unnamed woman. Jesus remarks that she has prepared Him for burial, confirming his imminent death and her pastoral role of caring for His body. Jesus’ claim that she will be remembered wherever the Good News is proclaimed — which has lent support to the ministry of women in the church from then on — has turned out to have come true only occasionally through history. What message do you take from this story?

Prayer: Jesus, in this moment, as events build to Your death, we see Your vulnerability and fear. When we see tension and peril burdening someone we know, may we, like the woman here, minister with a gentle hand, as she does to You. Amen.