Something Extravagant

Today’s gospel for the Monday of Holy Week is the well-known story of Mary of Bethany, anointing the feet of Jesus with “a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard.”  In Jesus’ time, the washing on someone’s feet carried with it meaning. While a host would offer water to a visitor for the visitor to wash their own feet, otherwise, only a servant or slave would wash someone’s feet. The same applied to anointing of the feet, considered a soothing treatment after a long day or journey. Because of these connotations, those who voluntarily washed someone else’s feet showed they were devoted enough to act as that person’s slave. The act of anointing Jesus’ feet, when taken in its literary and cultural context, displays Mary’s utter devotion to Jesus. Continue reading

Words for Holy Week

Entry_Into_Jerusalem1From the good folks at Merriam Webster – the “Word of the Day” – diffident. Probably not a word that is part of my everyday usage, but one that curiously arrived on the Monday of Holy Week. In modern usage, the word “diffident” means: (1) hesitant in acting or speaking through lack of self-confidence or (2) reserved, unassertive. But it is the now-archaic meaning of the word that also interests me: distrustful. Continue reading