Jesus' response? "She has done a beautiful thing to me. You'll always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me."
Jesus lauds this woman's wasteful, extravagant, prodigious act and says it will be told whenever and wherever the good news is told. And adds that it is in preparation for his burial. The burial talk took this wasteful, beautiful act to a very different place than the woman intended. She certainly didn't intend this as an act that would be attached to the gospel for thousands or years or mean for it to be a pre-burial rite. And yet this beautiful, reckless, wasteful act had significance beyond her intention.
The Christian faith is a reasonable faith. But it also ought to be a beautiful, reckless, wasteful faith.
In his book So Beautiful Leonard Sweet writes
We have so few resources in our experience for sensing the bursting forth of what God is doing. We don't have a sensing organism or discernment process that happens even in small groups of people. Sad to say, the only thing we know is a prayer meeting, which is all too often the corporate presentation to God of our list of things for God to do or get taken care of for us.Ouch.
We need to live out our faith with an eye keen to beauty for that will help us sense what God is doing.
Wasteful, reckless, beauty. Beauty is compelling. Beauty is magnetic. It's why we stare at paintings and drive to the Grand Canyon and get swept up in a powerful piece of music. If we can bring ourselves to waste some beauty on Jesus we might do something with significance far beyond what we intend and who knows, someone might be talking about our wasteful actions in a couple thousand years.