(Guest blogger Margaret Felice, a gifted soprano, a choral conductor, writer, and religious educator who resides in Boston returns with her second Lenten blog offering today.)
Today’s readings begin by drenching us in light. In the reading from Isaiah we hear “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement., and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” Even if we know intellectually that those words are understood as prophesying Jesus, it’s hard not to hear in them the promise that we, too, can be a light.
As we recite the psalm we cry out “the Lord is my light and my salvation”, though we are never quite told what we mean when we say “salvation”. We know it is not freedom from hardship, we know that salvation can be proceeded by terrible suffering. Does salvation here simply mean “eternal life”, or is there more to be had in that simple word? Maybe the light itself is our salvation; illuminating whatever darkness we may endure.
Then the Gospel reminds us that we are, indeed, making are way down that road of suffering. Mary anoints Jesus’s feet as Judas’s greed becomes a central plot point and the crowds gather, bringing with them the poisonous mixture of resentment and awe.
So let’s not rush by Mary’s gesture of love and sacrifice. This is the light she has to offer, and she covers Jesus in it. She goes over the top, and isn’t this what we are all called to do? Isn’t this what we see in God’s abundant and overwhelming grace? Let us meditate on the light today, as we get ready for a week that remembers darkness. Let us find our own ways to share God’s light. Let us challenge the darkness, even if it means going over the top, even if it means criticism, even if it can’t stop what is coming, for we may stumble upon fragrant and generous ways to sanctify the darkness.