Verily I say unto you, Wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
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Augustine of Hippo
De Con. Evan., ii, 79: I however think that nothing else can be meant, but that the sinner who then cameto the feet of Jesus was none other than the same Mary who did this twice; once, as Luke relates it, when coming for the first time with humility and tears she merited the remission of her sins. For John also relates this, when he began to speak of the raising of Lazarus before He came to Bethany, saying, “It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet withher hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” But what she again did at Bethany is another act, unrecorded by Luke, but mentioned in the same way by the other three Evangelists. In that therefore Matthew and Mark say that the head of the Lord was anointed by the woman, whilst John says the feet, we must understand that both the head and the feet were anointed by the woman. Unless because Markhas said that she broke the box in order to anoint His head, any one is so fond of cavilling as to deny that, because...
The Lord when about to suffer forthe whole world, and to redeem all nations with His Blood, dwells in Bethany, that is, in the house of obedience. Wherefore it is said, “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman.”.
He says “of Simon the leper”, not because he remained still a leper at that time, but because having once been such, he was healed by Our Saviour; his former name is left, that the virtue of the Healer may be made manifest.
Alabaster is a sort of white marble, veined with various colors which is often hollowed out for boxes of ointment, because it keeps things of that nature most uncorrupt. Nard is an aromatic shrub of a large and thick root, but short, black and brittle; though unctuous, it smells like cypress, and has a sharp taste, and small and dense leaves. Its tops spread themselves out like ears of corn, therefore, its gift being double, perfumers make much of the spikes and the leaves of the nard. And this is what is ...
For the fawn amongst the stags ever comes back to his couch, that is, the Son, obedient to the Father even unto death, seeks for obedience from us.
Again in a mystic sense, Simon the leper means the world, first infidel, and afterwards converted, and the woman with the alabaster box, means the faith of The Church, who says, My spikenard sendeth forth its smell. It is called pistic nard, that is, faithful and precious. The house filled with the smell of it is heaven and earth; the broken alabaster box is carnal desire, which is broken at the Head, from which the whole body is framed together, whilst He was reclining, that is, humbling Himself, that the faith of the sinner might be able to reach Him, for she went up from the feet to the head, and down from the head to the feet by faith, that is, to Christ and to His members. It goes on: “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this loss of the ointment? "By the figure synecdoche, one is put for many,...
The Persians, the Indians, Scythians, Thracians, Samaratians, the race of the Moors and the inhabitants of the British isles celebrate a deed, performed in a private family in Judea by a woman who had been a sinner. The Gospel of St. Matthew, Homily