Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3
When I was young, I used to hear this story and wonder what Mary’s hair must have looked like during dinner, all matted with a pound of nard and the dirt from Jesus’ feet. After all, it’s not like she could run out and take a shower before the hors d’oeuvre. On the other hand, she and Jesus must have sure smelled pretty.
That’s the problem with taking sacred texts literally. So let’s accept it as a metaphor. When we live our lives from the perspective of faith, our understanding of the value of things is dramatically changed.
Relationships matter. Material things don’t.
Food and security and equality matter. Expensive perfume is nothing more than common soap.
The Message of the Christ turns our understanding of “value” on its head.