Mor_Ephrem_iconLuke 7:36-50 (Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman)

Matthew 26:6-13 (Jesus Anointed at Bethany)

Glory then be to Him the Invisible, who clothed Himself in invisibility, that sinners might he able to draw near to Him.

For our Lord did not repel the sinful woman as the Pharisee expected; inasmuch as He descended from the height which no man can reach unto, altogether in order that lowly publicans, like Zaccheus, might reach unto Him.

And the Nature which none can handle, clothed Itself in a body, altogether in order that all lips (Is. 6:7) might kiss His feet as the sinful woman did (Luke 7:36-50).

For the sacred soul was hidden within the veil of flesh, and so touched all unclean lips and sanctified them.

[…] His feet invited to tears; He was the good Physician, who came forth to go to the sinful woman who was seeking Him in her soul.

She then anointed the feet of our Lord, who anointed not His head—she who was trodden down in the dust by all.

For those Pharisees who justified themselves and despised all else, trod her down.  But He the Merciful, Whose pure body sanctified her uncleanness, had pity on her.

But Mary anointed the head of our Lord’s body (Matt. 26:7) as a token of the better part which she had chosen.  And Christ prophesied concerning that which her soul had chosen.

While Martha was cumbered with serving, Mary was hungering to be satisfied with spiritual things by Him Who also satisfies us with bodily things.  So Mary refreshed Him with precious ointment, as He had refreshed her with His exalted teaching.

Mary by the oil showed forth the mystery of His mortality, Who by His teaching mortified the concupiscence of her flesh.

Thus the sinful woman by the flood of her tears, in full assurance was rewarded with remission of sins from beside His feet; and she who had the issue of blood, stole healing from the hem of His garment.

But Mary received blessing openly from His mouth, as a reward of the service of her hands upon His head.  For she poured out on His head the precious ointment, and received from His mouth a wonderful promise.

This is the ointment which was sown above and yielded fruit below.  For she sowed it on His head and gathered its fruit from between His lips—She shall have a name and this memorial in every place where My Gospel shall be preached (Matt. 26: 13).

Ephrem the Syrian (c.306-373): Homily on Our Lord, 46-47.