Holy Wednesday: The Sinful Woman

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The Gospel lesson has the story of the woman who, right before the Passover, comes to where Jesus is meeting with His disciples and pours expensive ointment on Jesus’ head.

When the disciples complain about the wastefulness of the woman, Jesus defends her saying she has prepared his body for burial and proclaims that what the woman has done will be remembered wherever in the world the Gospel is proclaimed –

The Lord thus recognizes her as one of the Myrrhbearing Women Saints of the Church.

On Holy Wednesday the Church invites the faithful to focus their attention on two figures:

The sinful woman who anointed the head of Jesus shortly before the passion,

And Judas, the disciple who betrayed the Lord.

The former acknowledged Jesus as Lord, while the latter severed himself from the Master. One was set free, while the other became a slave. One inherited the Kingdom, while the other fell into perdition.*

These two people bring before us concerns and issues related to freedom, sin, hell and repentance.

The repentance of the sinful harlot is contrasted with the tragic fall of the chosen disciple. [While] The sinful woman brought oil of myrrh, the disciple came to an agreement with the transgressors.

She rejoiced to pour out what was very precious, he made haste to sell the One who is above all price.

Grievous was his lack of love. Great was her repentance.

*Perdition: noun

(in Christian theology) a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death.

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