The ancient fathers of the church always taught that every day of our life is a preparation for death; that we should keep the dying of the Lord before us. That’s a principle of the spiritual life that ought to still be relevant to us today. This is not the same thing as merely saying “live every day as if it were your last.” That kind of thinking would have us living kind of a hedonistic life, making everything all about us. And that’s not what the fathers were advocating at all.
Rather, they had in mind what is portrayed in our Gospel reading today. The anointing of Jesus’ feet was certainly a preparation for his dying, that’s pretty obvious. That’s the kind of oil she used, and everyone would have known that in Jesus’ day. But her action was a preparation for her own death. She came, knowing her sins, putting herself at the feet of Jesus, being a gift to him by her very presence.
Because what Satan wants for us is to know our sins and be so ashamed of them that it keeps us from Jesus. But what this woman models is the very opposite. She approaches him burdened by her sins, and weeps at Jesus’ feet knowing her woundedness. Jesus sees her openness, and that openness allows for Jesus to heal her to her very core. She loves much, he loves much, and she is forgiven much.
Which is what brings us here today, isn’t it? We wounded ones come with love before our Jesus who loves us much, and forgives us everything if only we confess it. And we receive the best gift of love there is, the Eucharist, his very body and blood, soul and divinity. At the end of it all, may Jesus one day say to us as he did to the repentant woman, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”