Immaculate Heart of Mary Newsletter. 5 pp.
Mark opens and closes his Passion narrative with stories of women who wish to ritually anoint Jesus for burial (14:3-9; 16:1ff). The function of this bracketing is to give the reader hope that, even though the male disciples abandon the Way of the cross, there are female disciples who understand and accept it. Let us look at these “bookends” of Mark’s story of the via crucis.
Mark 14:1-9. In 14:1 we are plunged back into the heart of the Judean social order: Jerusalem on the high holy days of Passover. These feast days always occasioned political turmoil in Roman-occupied Palestine, for it was a time when the people reflected on the Exodus story of liberation. It is in the context of this concern to keep public order that Mark re-introduces the government conspiracy against Jesus (14:2).
Jesus is at table with a leper, practicing solidarity with the "least" to the end (14:3). He is interrupted by an anonymous woman who, judging by her bold approach and the expensive perfume, probably was a prostitute. Once again those with Jesus object, this time out of a concern for "wasteful spending" (14:4f). It is of utmost irony that the same concern for cash will shortly lead Judas to defect to the authorities (14:10f).
by Ched Myers
All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.