Today’s Gospel reading takes us back to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. We’ve visited here on two other occasions; once, when we learned of the tension between Martha’s preoccupation with service and Mary’s contemplative listening and again, when we heard of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Today’s account tells of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume. Is it significant that at the raising of Lazarus we’re told of the stench of the decaying body, and today we hear of the fragrance of Mary’s perfume filling the house? Someone has a keen sense of smell!
I’ve noticed over the years that certain smells remind me of particular places or people. The smell of freshly baked sugar cookies reminds me of my grandmother, the smell of candles reminds me of times as an elementary student when I helped in the parish Church/sacristy, and the smell of floor wax reminds me of my early days here in the convent.
I was once told that the origin of the name “Mary” (I can’t remember which language) is “living fragrance.” This seems to fit well in today’s Gospel reading as well as in relation to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Mary’s whole life was a living fragrance, reminding others of Jesus. Simply by living her daily life, she filled the world with the fragrance of Jesus.
Are there fragrances/smells connected to the memories in your life? What fragrance will you spread by your life today?