“She did what she could,” Jesus said. She had taken her life savings in the form of perfume and anointed His head, weeping in gratitude for His love. For His gaze, noticing her in her ordinary life.
He had defended her before, to a demanding sister. “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her” He said, affirming her quiet devotion.
He defended her again now, to the men scorning her extravagant gift. He honored her gift and her love, welcoming this anointing given from a heart understanding what they would not.
He would carry the scent of her blessing to Gethsemane, to Pilate’s courtyard; to the cross. While He breathed His last, the perfume of her offering lingered, holy.
“She did what she could,” He said.
We too are a sweet fragrance dispersed as we share Him in the world. Are we pouring ourselves out for others, anointing the lonely with our time and attention? Are we sharing the sweet perfume of encouragement to the discouraged or the strong, sharp scent of truth to the deceived? Do we mingle the incense of our prayers with the tears of the hurting?
Just as Mary’s gift was accepted so too is ours, like incense rising to heaven from the holy place in our hearts. When we feel inadequate or weak, when we’re tempted to think our fumbling attempts at love don’t matter, let’s remember His words, spoken with approval and welcome: “She did what she could.”