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For Your Weekend: Anoint the King

Caitlin Bean

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Mark 11:110 and Mark 14:1—15:47

Here we are, at the threshold of Holy Week. Somehow, another Lent is all but behind us. As we stand here, I wonder where your heart is. 

Are you filled with eager anticipation as we prepare to enter into the crux of the Paschal mystery? 

Or perhaps, does a week called holy feel overwhelming amidst a world that seems far from it? 

Is your heart weighed down by burdens? Is the thought of entering into Jesus’ suffering unimaginable because you are on your knees in agonizing prayer, longing for your own story of resurrection?

Does Jesus seem far away, out of reach? Do you find yourself grappling with doubt, or even anger, as we embark on this week of reflection and contemplation?

Maybe you’re feeling indifferent, weary. This story is so familiar that you begin to wonder if there’s anything new for you to grasp or if there’s anything more for Jesus to speak into your life. 

Are you painfully aware of your shortcomings and sinfulness, wrestling with feelings of unworthiness, hesitant to approach the One you desire most?

Wherever you find yourself in this moment, I am grateful that you are here. And whether you’re full of anticipation or weighed down by doubts and struggles, God, in His infinite wisdom and love, extends a gentle invitation to you—to immerse yourself once more in this sacred narrative and experience it anew. 

Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion and eventual resurrection. During this liturgy, we hear two gospel stories. The Mass begins with the joyful proclamation of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1–10), which symbolizes His role as the long-awaited Messiah, the King of kings. The people lined the streets waving branches, singing hosanna, and courageously hailing Him as their King. 

However, the tone shifts dramatically as we recount the passion of our Lord (Mark 14:1—15:47) and the horrific events that occurred just days later. The jubilation turns to somberness as we reflect on the crowd’s transition from songs of praise to jeers and angry demands for Jesus’ crucifixion. The King of the Jews is not hailed but nailed to a tree. And it would seem all hope is lost. 

Anointing the King
But if I may, allow me to draw your attention to a profound moment in the gospel that could easily be glanced over. It is the story of the anointing at Bethany (Mark 14:3–9). While reclining at table, a woman came to Jesus with a jar of extremely expensive perfumed oil and anointed His head in light of His impending death. Though others were shocked and indignant at the woman’s actions, Jesus defended her. He recognized the beauty in her act and assured them her devotion would be remembered. The expression was one of extravagant love, honor, and devotion worthy of a king.

And indeed, it was.

In her own way, this woman honored the King of kings, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. It is evident that she not only understood Jesus’ identity and mission but that she truly loved and adored Him—so much so that she was willing to endure the judgment and scorn of others. And so this woman challenges us to consider the extent of our own understanding of Jesus’ identity, as well as how we honor Him in our lives. 

Are you willing to be rejected by others to pay homage to our King? 

Will you offer Jesus what’s most precious to you and not count the cost? 

Dare to Risk Condemnation
Like the people of Jesus’ time, to hail Jesus as King is not without consequences. So often, the world around us does not know Him, let alone understand Him. To stand boldly in our faith is to risk condemnation. To extravagantly love Jesus, to adore and worship Him, is to welcome scorn and judgment. 

Will we be tempted to fall asleep when He asks us to keep watch? 

Will there be moments we deny knowing Him? 

Might we be the angry crowd demanding the release of Barabbas?


But amid our frailties and shortcomings, despite our sins, may we always return to Him and acclaim Him as our King, for there is none besides Him. 

Let This Week Be Different
May we, like the woman, extravagantly worship Him.

Like the centurion, may we have the humility to declare Him the Son of God. 

With the courage of Joseph of Arimathea, may we seek to honor our King at all costs. 

May our hearts be open to the journey ahead as we walk alongside Jesus, our humble King, who rides on a donkey, yet reigns over all creation. 

So, will you accept that invitation to immerse yourself once more in this sacred narrative? 

By doing so, you will not emerge unchanged. Though it might be hard to perceive, though the seeds may just be taking root, God’s Word always transforms. His presence is ever near and He longs to speak to you—yes, you, my dear sister—in this very moment, in this very Holy Week. 

Food for thought or journaling... 

How can I demonstrate extravagant love and honor Jesus as my King and Savior today?

Jesus, open my heart to what You wish to reveal to me this Holy Week. May I always worship You as King and trust in Your infinite mercy and love. Amen.

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