Mercy Mondays: A new kind of anointing on Easter
This Lent and this Easter bring with it a renewed sense of hopefulness for us as a Mercy community of faith and love. We have lived through a year like no other, longing for some semblance of “normalcy.” We learned to exist, survive and pivot in ways we never expected. At times it feels like our Lent has lasted for much longer than 40 days!
Yet here we are at Easter, the promise given to us by Jesus. Here we remain within the pandemic an Easter people. What does this mean for our lives and who we are called to be as people of faith?
I think the answer lies in Mary Magdalene. We hear in the Easter reading how the women, in their fear and terrible grief, mustered up courage and strength to do what was necessary for Jesus. They tracked to the tomb, distraught but not crippled by their grief. They showed up for Jesus because they knew his love changed them, and they needed to show their love for him in return. In their terrible grief, they arrived. They went to anoint Jesus with oil and to do their duty of preparing his body with love and respect.
When I contemplate this moment, I often think of them walking into the tomb and being so confused and in trauma. In the noticing and realizing of what has taken place, I imagine the immense surge of joy and disbelief: that moment of realization and the dropping of the oils on the slab where Jesus had been laid.
Then oil still spilling, dripping, oozing, and the women running through the oil, their feet anointed. Then their running – oh, the running with such hope and anticipation – as their need to share the incredible and miraculous good news that their savior had risen grew inside them. Then their ministry to evangelize this good news to the apostles. Then the arrival of Simon and John and their anointing in that tomb of hope.
This Easter, we have Mary Magdalene and the women as our models of the work of Easter. In the midst of all that is before us, there is still a new anointing that has taken place this Lent and perhaps this entire pandemic. We have showed up in places ready for one thing, ready to serve in one way or simply to survive. What we have encountered has been much different then what we expected, but sacred none-the-less.
This Easter it is our job to notice the oil upon our feet as we have done our duty of loving others with mercy. How have you showed up with love and been changed by what you have found? How has God fashioned you this Lent to be empowered to share the love that changed you? How are you ready to live this message of transformation as we continue forth as Easter people in the pandemic? How has your anointing already happened?
Written by MaryAnne Davey, director at the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.