anointing feet, Bethany, challenges, difficulty, Jesus, John, Lazarus, Martha, Mary, paschal mystery, psalm 27, refuge, strength, The Lord is my light and my salvation, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, walking the path of suffering
After the tumultuous events of what has come to be known to us as Palm Sunday, we learn from the Scriptures that Jesus returned to Bethany to be with his friends, Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. And why not? Here he was surrounded by care and compassion, expressed in today’s gospel (JN 12:1-11) by Mary anointing his feet with costly perfumed oil. If you have ever had a foot massage, you know how calming it can be and for Jesus it must have also felt like a renewal of strength for the path he was destined to walk. Picturing Jesus this way helps to me to remember that he was fully human and to know the importance of seeing him this way throughout this week if I am to fully participate in the Paschal Mystery, walking with him through his suffering and death – and only then into resurrection.
As my thoughts moved in that direction this morning, I was reminded of three people who are facing difficult challenges this week. Although I am confident that they will each proceed into and through the suffering that lies ahead for them, all three will need to surrender and look to God’s grace as well as support from their friends to remain steadfast in their faith. Considering the trials of these people in my own life whose circumstances differ greatly brings the reality of Christ’s suffering even closer to me. It calls me to consider as well that we are all members of Christ’s body, destined to a unity that endures and is strengthened by our consciousness of and prayer for one another. And so this morning I pray in confidence the words of Psalm 27, quoted here in two different translations. I pray these words for my three sisters in Christ and for all those walking the path of suffering today. For whom will you be praying?
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?…I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.
God, you are for me a brilliant light. You are the one restoring me and saving all. You are the strength of life; I rest assured and strong in you. No fears, no shadows near can trouble me.