[My response to readings for March 26-28 in the One Year Bible]
Luke retells the story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil. There are some mistakes in that sentence. I don’t know if Luke told it first. Also, I struggled with the verb. Did she wash his feet in oil? Anoint sounds too liturgical, caress or message both sound too sensual. What would you say?
When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
That bit is similar to the other story. The switch comes in how the story is used. When this came up in an earlier Gospel, the disciples focused on “wasting” the money that could be sold to the poor. Here, the Pharisees take another shot at Jesus for associating with low lifes.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
In the other story, Jesus scolds the disciples for scolding her and points out that she is showing him kindness and his time is short and the vibe turns into a suggestion that maybe she’s preparing Jesus’ body for burial. By contrast, here, we see classic Lucan Jesus calling out the Pharisees who think he didn’t hear there nasty little comments. He tells a quick parable about those who are forgiven much are more grateful than those who are forgiven less. He then forgives the woman for her sins and says, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The next paragraph lists the names of several rich women who helped Jesus. They were
Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
They full reading of both passages is here.
From Deuteronomy with have this great passage about YHWH God of the oppressed, but also this reminder that the Bible can advocate some pretty extreme violence as well.