An extract from a sermon preached by the Dean on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, 7 April 2019:
In each version of this story, the woman with the ointment has caught a glimpse of God’s generosity in Jesus and she makes a whole-hearted response. She does not care what the powerful men sitting around the table think about her.
She wants to say YES to God … and express her thanks for the blessings in her life.
In the oldest version of this story, the one found in Mark and Matthew, Jesus makes a remarkable comment on her action:
Everywhere that the Gospel is proclaimed what she has done will be told in remembrance of her … in remembrance of her.
Those are words that evoke what Jesus said that the Last Supper a few nights later: Do this in remembrance of me … drink this cup in remembrance of me”.
Careful observance of the rules might be a sensible thing to do, but extravagant acts of random kindness and generosity are at the very heart of our faith as disciples of Jesus.
The full text of this sermon (along with a video recording) is available online.