Lent 5C: Extravagant gifts

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Timing is everything.

Monday afternoon, my 92 year old father fell over a second-floor banister to the first floor about 10 feet below. Nothing broke his fall so he landed hard and flat on his back. He has massive bruises, internal bleeding and seven broken ribs. He was in ICU for three and a half days.  He is now in a step-down unit hoping to get the chest drain removed so that he can be transferred to a sub-acute rehab because that’s the next step before he can go home.

I live 260 miles away – 4-1/2 hours by car if there is no traffic.  My partner and I drove down to see my father in the ICU Tuesday morning. We tried to help out a bit. He knew we were there but he was only vaguely oriented and couldn’t really talk. He was in a lot of pain and heavily medicated.

My brother lives about 1200 miles away. He has three school age children at home (and a dog) and he and his wife both work at demanding full-time jobs. A few weeks ago, he took a few days off from work and flew out to spend the time with his parents. He didn’t try to fit in visits with other friends or family members while he was home: he just wanted some quality time with his father and mother.

I went home because of a crisis. My brother went home simply because he wanted some quality time with my father while he was capable of enjoying and appreciating the visit.  I made the expected and appropriate visit — kind of like giving roses on Valentine’s Day. My brother’s visit was like a gift of roses on an ordinary day: extravagant.

In the gospel for this Sunday, (John 12:1-8) Mary’s gift is extravagant not so much because it is expensive, but because it is given on an ordinary day during an ordinary dinner.

Timing is everything.

As I was looking around to see what other folks were thinking about these readings, I found this marvelous meditation by The Rev. Rick Morley called, “There He Was…”    Give it a read.