But while Martha was serving everyone, Mary focused her attention on honoring Christ. By pouring myrrh on His feet and wiping them with her hair, she served Him not as a mere man, as did the others, but as her Lord, Master, and God. The Jewish name Mariam means "ruler" [κυρια]. Therefore the person of Mary may be understood in a spiritual sense [τροποις αναγωγης] to represent the divinity of the Father, the Lord [κυριος] of all, Who has anointed Jesus' feet -- signifying the flesh of the Lord in the latter times -- with the myrrh of the Spirit. As David foretold: Wherefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness [Ps. 44:6]. And the great Peter declares, Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ [i.e. the Anointed One; Acts 2:36]. The flesh, assumed by the Word and anointed by the divine Spirit Which entered the Virgin's womb, became what the Word is -- God. It filled the world with fragrance just as Mary's myrrh filled the whole house with fragrance. As for the hairs used to wipe Christ's feet, they represent the saints who adorn the head of God -- His supreme authority. Existing as they do for the glory of God, the saints have become participants in the anointing of Christ's flesh. hence David says, More than Thy fellows [Ps. 44:6]. And Paul tells the Corinthians, Now He Who establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God [II Cor. 1:21]. Those who live according to Christ are called "Christs," that is, anointed ones; therefore the hairs that wiped Jesus; feet represent Christians, who participate in the divine anointing. Hair is "dead" by comparison to flesh and those who belong to Christ are also dead. They have crucified the flesh, mortified their members that are on the earth, and died to the world [see Gal. 5:24; Col. 3:5]. Hair is also the adornment and glory of the head. The saints are the glory of God: their light shines before men and through them the Father is glorified [see Mt. 5:16]. Even their eating and drinking is to the glory of God. Whom the saints glorify in their members [see I Cor. 10:21]. As for you, O reader, Jesus has also raised your fallen mind like another Lazarus. Having been raised from the dead, you have received Him into the house of your soul and feast together with Him. Therefore, anoint the feet of the Lord six days before the Pascha -- before the dawning of the Pascha of the age to come. Anoint Him while you still live in this world fashioned in six days. The feet of Christ represent the Apostle Book and the Gospel -- in sum, the commandments by which Christ walks in us. To these commandments you should apply myrrh -- a spiritual disposition blended of many virtues, the finest of which is faith, warm and pungent as precious spikenard. If you do not cling fervently and zealously to Christ's commandments and anoint them with your mortified members as with hair, the house of your soul will not be filled with divine fragrance. The Lord's feet are also our impoverished brethren, who go begging door to door. It is Christ who comes to us in their person. Anoint these "feet" with the myrrh of almsgiving. Many give alms, but make a show of doing so. Thus they gain nothing, for they have their reward in this world [Mt. 6:2]. With the hair of your head wipe the feet of the poor brethren and benefit your soul; gather the reward of almsgiving into that principal and governing part of man. If anything in you is dead and lifeless like hair, anoint it with this good chrism. For it is written, "Blot out your sins with almsgiving [see Dan. 4:24*]."*The reference is found in Daniel 4:27 in Protestant Bibles.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Mortified, Dead, Anointed, Filled
From the Blessed Theophylact on today's gospel (John 12:1-18):