Summary: Pulpit drama monologue as if the preacher were Simon, into whose house Jesus came, and where the jar of ointment was given. An emphasis on feeling, on forgiveness,and on generosity.
Frankly, I like things cool, calm, and collected. This business of lavish public display has always bothered me. It’s just bad taste, that’s what it is, when people feel they have to hang all over each other in public. Great day, what you do see down at the market sometimes, young people so entwined you’d think it was one body with two heads and four feet! Just tasteless.
Tasteless, and so unnecessary. What is the point of getting so gushy? What does it do for these people, to be touching and handling each other like that?
I just don’t like to wear my heart on my sleeve. I always say, let the heart stay in the chest and pump blood like it’s supposed to, out of sight, doing its job. You don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve; that’s not what it’s for.
The other day, now, for example, I invited this fellow Jesus to my house for a little food and some conversation. I just felt I needed to do a little something, because some were saying the man was a prophet and a healer. As a leading Pharisee, I make it my business to keep tabs on such things. You never know when somebody is going to sweep these people off their feet with some ridiculous religious frenzy, so I wanted to hear him for myself.
And then, too, it is at least barely possible that he really might be some kind of prophet. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does some unusual things sometimes. And if he is sent from God, well, it would pay to be on his good side. I doubt that he really is; but let’ s give him a quick chance to prove himself.
And so I invited Jesus for a quiet lunch -- just a simple thing -- at my house. No big deal, didn’t want to bother with all the amenities you bring out for important guests, because I didn’t know yet whether he really was important.
No perfume for his hair; I don’t think these religious nuts care about that, and it’s too expensive if he isn’t really anybody.
And no foot-washing; the servants were off duty, and I didn’t think he’d stay long anyway. My guess was I’d size him up and send him packing before the fruit course; his feet would hardly even be dry before he’d be using them again. No, no foot-washing. .
And certainly no hug and kiss; in my country you might greet a relative or an old friend with an embrace and a kiss on each cheek. And some people do that for others who are in the same social station as they are. But you know what I’ve said about myself: I’m just not geared that way. Not at least for some pale peasant with a Galilean accent and a reputation for telling embarrassing stories! What is it with these people who wear their hearts on their sleeves? Let the heart pump blood, quietly, inside, as it should! Don’t expect a hug or a kiss from me!
Simon -- that’s me -- is not about to let go of his dignity or of his resources too easily.
But I need to tell you that in my country it is the custom that when you have someone in your home for a meal, you leave the courtyard open so that the beggars can come in and pick up scraps. We don’t eat in private when we have guests; the Law says you are to leave open the gate so that the poor can come in and get something. I don’t really like it, but it is the Law, so of course I do it.
By the way, I have found out something interesting. I’ve found out that when these human animals slink in, if you ignore them, they’ll go away. Just leave them alone and let them pick up a few crumbs from the table … sometimes you can even sweep a few off so that they will get what they came for quickly, and then they’ll just leave and you won’t be bothered any more.
I’ve also learned that whatever you do, don’t look them in the eye. Once they catch your attention, they will bother you to distraction.
And so this day with Jesus brought the usual crop of ne’er-do-wells into my courtyard. Somebody told me that Amnon the beggar was there for a couple of minutes; I didn’t see him. And my nose told me that Zedekiah the fisherman was not far away; I don’t know why they call him a fisherman; he just sits around in a battered old boat and never catches anything but a cold.
In other words, the old regulars came to scavenge from my table, but I didn’t see her until I was forced to look up from my plate to find out who was sending up this awful wail. And there she was; how dare she -- Miriam! Miriam, of all people, at my table! I was shocked!