SHE HAS SHOWN GREAT LOVE
For your prayerful reflection during these remaining days leading to Easter, here is a lovely poem by Irene Zimmerman, O.S.F.
When she learned where Jesus had gone,
the woman raced home,
grabbed scarves and jewels,
ran to pawn them.
bought the biggest jar of nard she could buy,
and ﬂew to the house of Simon the Pharisee.
In the doorway she stopped to catch her breath
and to let her eyes adjust to the dark.
The room was ﬁlled with men,
some of whom had known her more than once.
She felt lewd eyes undressing her again.
But then she saw Jesus.
Those others didn’t matter anymore.
In a second she was on the ﬂoor,
breaking open the alabaster jar,
pouring out the nard, anointing his ankles,
his hard soles, his long straight toes,
kissing them, wiping them with her hair.
Only then did she remember the Law -
by touching him, she had made him unclean!
Self-loathing sobbed in her as she saw herself
groveling for bread when she was too young
for her woman’s trade, and later, being tossed
like a toy, devoured quickly in the dark.
She felt his quiet hand on her head,
heard him speaking to his host,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
She poured out more oil, slowly, deliberately,
held the jar upside down and poured it all out,
her tears falling all the while unto his feet.
“Do you see this woman?” Jesus continued.
“She has shown great love.”
When she dared look up to him,
his kind eyes anointed her from head to foot.
“Your sins are forgiven,” he solemnly assured her.
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
She wiped the excess oil from between his toes,
stood up and left the room, carrying with her
the fragrance of forgiveness.
Irene Zimmerman, Incarnation: New and Selected Poems for Spiritual Reflection (Cowley Publications, 2007) pages 64-65
Painting | Jesus anointed at Bethany by James Woodward